Must win time for Sounders FC

Aug 3, 2011, 9:14 AM | Updated: 10:25 am

After a long, frustrating trip to muggy Panama City, it’s do-or-die time for Sounders FC tonight at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. They must win by two goals or more to stay in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament. If Seattle leads by just one goal at the end of regulation, they’ll go into extra time.

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid says getting a positive result tonight against San Francisco FC is important for the club’s long term goals. After an impressive nine-match unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer play, Seattle lost its international friendly 7-0 to Manchester United, then 1-0 to the Panamanian club, and finally a 3-1 MLS defeat last Saturday in Houston.

Schmid told me in the Coach’s Corner interview, “a win is something we need to get to help our own confidence level. If we can go 6-1-3 in our next 10 games we’ll be happy. It’s just a matter of re-establishing ourselves.”

Seattle’s defensive mistakes have been critical in all three results. Against San Francisco FC it was a handball in the box which gave the Panama club a penalty kick.

“To shore up the defense is us just concentrating at the key moments and not making mistakes,” Schmid said. “We have to know that we all defend. Sometimes defending starts in the opponent’s end of the field.”

San Francisco FC has a scoring threat to contend with tonight.

“Obviously Roberto Brown is a veteran goal-scorer who’s very cagey,” Schmid said. “They also have a couple of wingers who get forward and who are tricky.”

Seattle’s defense is getting a bit healthier. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado felt good at training this week. He’s missed nearly a month after spraining a knee ligament.

The news is not as good for backup goalie Terry Boss, who is still dealing with concussion symptoms from an injury he suffered in the Manchester United game. Kasey Keller is in the nets tonight, with rookie Josh Ford on the bench.

An important MLS game Saturday night at Kansas City will not have much impact on Schmid’s starting 11 this evening.

“We’re trying to take each game for what it’s worth. We’ll put the best lineup out there based on the personnel we have available,” Schmid said.

If Sounders FC win tonight, they’ll enter Group D of the CONCACAF Champions League. That group includes defending champion Monterrey of Mexico.

Arlo White has the play-by-play at 7 p.m. on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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Must win time for Sounders FC