Sounders ready for first-place showdown

May 11, 2012, 1:40 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm

The agonizing disappointment lingers like it was only yesterday. Seattle Sounders FC had their fine 2011 season end with a stinging playoff series loss to Real Salt Lake.

Sounders won the final match 2-nil but were eliminated because of their stunning 3-nil loss in Sandy, Utah. Both teams are off to tremendous starts in the 2012 MLS schedule and are poised for their first meeting Saturday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

I asked Sounders head man Sigi Schmid in our Coach’s Corner show whether that playoff series against Real Salt Lake is ancient history or whether it is part of the motivation for this Saturday’s match.

“It’s history but it’s also something that’s there in our minds,” he said. “Winning in the regular season doesn’t make it equal, but getting into first place certainly helps.”

The “rave green” are on an incredible roll, winning five games in a row to match a franchise record. Sounders have not given up a goal in the past 271 minutes.

Now, their star forward is finding the back of the net. Fredy Montero has three goals in the past three matches, including both tallies in Seattle’s 2-0 victory at FC Dallas last Wednesday night.

Seattle will be without defender Zach Scott for this home game. Major League Soccer suspended the Gonzaga University alum for one game after reviewing his hard tackle on a Dallas player.

Adam Johansson is the likely candidate to replace Scott.

Schmid said Osvaldo Alonso will return to his holding midfield position after resting in the Dallas game. The coach is not sure whether Alvaro Fernandez will be available for an entire 90 minutes. The Uruguayan national teamer has missed the Sounders’ past three games with a quad injury.

Schmid said Real Salt Lake’s experience makes them a dangerous team.

“When you look at the middle of their field, Rimando, Borchers, Olave, Beckerman, Morales and Espindola, they’ve been together for about four years,” Schmid said. “Sometimes the moving parts around that core change but the core remains the same, and that’s why they’ve been a consistently good team.”

Matt Johnson hosts the pregame show at 6 p.m. Saturday. Ross Fletcher and former Sounders goalie Kasey Keller have the call at 7 on 97.3 KIRO FM

Seattle Sounders FC

Sounders Fredy Montero...
The Associated Press

Fredy Montero helps Sounders draw with FC Cincinnati 1-1

Fredy Montero equalized for Seattle in the second half of a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night that kept the Sounders' slim playoff hopes alive.
5 days ago
Sounders Whitecaps...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Sounders’ playoff chances take a hit with 2-1 loss in Vancouver

The Vancouver Whitecaps downed the Seattle Sounders 2-1 in MLS play on Saturday night thanks to a pair of goals in the first half.
15 days ago
Sounders...
The Associated Press

Ruidiaz scores 2 goals as Seattle Sounders defeat Austin

Raul Ruidiaz scored two goals and the Seattle Sounders beat Austin 3-0 on Saturday night. Both of Ruidiaz's goals were in the first half.
22 days ago
PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 09: Fredy Montero #12 of Seattle Sounders reacts in the second half against ...
The Associated Press

Montero, Nouhou score, Sounders beat Dynamo 2-1 to stop skid

Fredy Montero scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win for the Sounders over Houston as Seattle ended a five-game winless streak.
28 days ago
REUNION, FLORIDA - JULY 25: Kyle Smith #24 of Orlando City carries the ball during a match against ...
The Associated Press

Smith’s goal in stoppage time lifts Orlando City over Sounders 3-2

Kyle Smith scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time and Orlando City beat the Seattle Sounders 3-2 on Wednesday night.
1 month ago
Seattle Sounders...
The Associated Press

Portland Timbers down Seattle Sounders 2-1 to win Cascadia Cup

Sebastian Blanco scored the go-ahead goal and the Portland Timbers won the Cascadia Cup with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.
1 month ago
Sounders ready for first-place showdown