Sounders Release 2018 Schedule

Tastylia Germany The Sounders 2018 schedule came out this morning. And it definitely has some interesting angles to it.

  1. The 1st round of the Concacaf Champions League matches are the week before the MLS season starts. So you can travel down to Santa Tecla, El Salvador on Feb 22 for Leg 1, or just wait until Thursday, March 1 for Leg 2 at home.
  2. MLS Opening Day is Sunday, March 4 vs the newest entry into the league, Los Angeles FC.
  3. After that, you have to wait 27 days for the next home match, a 3/31 7:00pm tilt vs Montreal.
  4. If you’re ready for more soccer, grab your patience pants. It’s 22 more days before you get to see Minnesota United come for a day game on Sunday 4/22. So if you are counting at home, that’s just 3 home games in the first (and rainiest) 9 weeks of the season. That seems like a good deal for us fans.
  5. Things don’t get too much busier in May. Dates on the 5th vs Columbus and the 26th vs RSL is all we get. So we enter June with just 5 home matches under our belt.
  6. That means things start to get busy in June. 6/9 vs DC United, 6/23 vs Chicago and then the big one. 6/30 vs Portland.
  7. After a 3 week break, we really get into the meat of the home schedule in late July and August. Hope you didn’t have vacation plans.  7/21 vs Vancouver, 7/29 vs NYCFC, 8/12 vs Dallas, 8/18 vs Sigi and the Galaxy, 9/1 vs Sporting KC.  That’s 5 home games in 7 weeks.
  8. As the kids head back to school, we close the season on a pretty regular cadence of home and away matches. 9/19 vs Philly, 9/29 vs Colorado, 10/6 vs Houston and the finale 10/28 vs San Jose.

http://parkbarnyc.com/?flomasr=copain-sur-site-de-rencontre&3ae=23 That’s 17 MLS home matches and one Concacaf match, with 14 of them coming in May – October. There will be more Concacaf matches, likely against a Mexican League squad, if they progress past El Salvador.  So I suspect no friendlies will be officially scheduled until we see what happens in the Champions League.

http://advocation.ca/?biorerbiorere=rencontre-xpress&2d2=b8 If you’re looking for good excuses to get out of Seattle, a couple of away matches stand out: Sunday 4/29 in LA is a good time to escape the rain. July 4 in Colorado could be a lot of fun.  And July 15 in Atlanta would be a fun excuse to see their new stadium, especially since it’s indoors.

go here Happy 2018. Go Sounders.

What I Learned – Playing Putt-Putt with Chad Marshall

(This post is part of the continuing series called, “ go What I Learned.” In this series, I keep track of things that sparked my brain during different events and experiences.)

I’ve long said that the Seattle Sounders do more smart things for their fans and supporters than any team I’ve ever run across. Last week, they held a small event, hosting a pub night at a local bar near the stadium. The bar features a 9 hole indoor putt-pitt course, and as luck would have it, I got to play mini-golf with Sounders CB Chad Marshall and LM Aaron Kovar.

Both guys were great. Marshall was drinking a beer, and talking about golf and his 2 year old kid. Kovar is a friendly kid who looks like a guy you’d sit next to on a bus, going to his job at Amazon.
Of course, I didn’t think of anything really good to ask them until I was already home, but I did learn one thing. We talked a little about language barriers and how the team deals with that in training. Marshall admitted it’s a real problem for teams. Each team has interpreters on staff to translate what the coaches are saying in terms of strategy and game plans. But on the field for example, some players only speak Spanish, one only speaks French, and some – including the Goalkeeper – only speak English. So when a team is defending free kicks, basically the only words they can say to each other are “left, right, and back.”
My takeaway – whenever you see a goal scored from a free kick, especially if someone lost their mark, there was probably some sort of miscommunication between guys who speak different languages. I can only imagine what it must be like in Eurpoean leagues.

Meet Your New 2017 Sounders

The MLS season is a long one, running a full 9 months from early March to early December. So before the ink was even dry on the papers forever documenting the 2016 Sounders MLS Cup win, the wheels of progress were underway to form the 2017 version. Many of the players who played a decent sized role in the title run found themselves trading their Rave Green uniforms for flights back to their home countries. Meanwhile, a new set of Sounders filled out change of address forms, and made plans to move to Seattle.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the turnstyle over the last 3 months. (For a full review, read this article from SounderAtHeart.)

click here Who’s Out?

The MLS has some pretty onerous salary cap rules. Add in 2 new expansion teams this year in Minnesota and Atlanta, and it makes it hard to keep a team together. Here are the hoteles en el caribe para solteros 18 names you won’t see wearing a Sounders uniform this year:

  • Nelson Valdez (released because he was too expensive and signed with a team in Paraguay)
  • Tyrone Mears (released and signed by Atlanta)
  • Dylan Remick (released and redrafted by Houston)
  • Erik Friberg (released and signed by a team in Sweden)
  • Andreas Ivanschitz (released and signed by a team in the Czech league)
  • Zack Scott (retired)
  • Herculez Gomez (retired)
  • Some guys you may or may not recognize were also released and signed with minor league teams (or retired): Darwin Jones, Charlie Lyon, Jimmy Ockford, Victor Mansaray (loaned out) Michael Farfan (retired), Nathan Sturgis (still unsigned), Oalex Anderson (still unsigned)

http://yankalillabakery.com.au/?kramarew=conocer-hombres-de-israel&c36=28 Who’s New?

New Sounders are often guys we’ve never heard of. So, for these http://sat-rent.de/deribbebe/21264 8 new players, I’m sharing the 0-100 ratings the video game FIFA 2017 gives them.

  • Clint Dempsey, F, (Back from Disabled List): 80
  • Gustav Svensson Mid, / Def (from Sweden and Chinese League): 72
  • Will Bruin, F, (from Houston): 69
  • Harry Shipp, Mid, (from Montreal): 68
  • Bryan Meredith, GK, (from San Jose): 61
  • Nouhou Tolo, Def, (Sounders 2): NR
  • Henry Wingo, Mid, / Def (Homegrown): NR
  • Seyi Adekoya, F, (Homegrown): NR

follow url Who’s Back:

Check and make sure your favorite players are still here. http://www.techhelpnumbers.com/font/2180 Just 14 remain from the team that won in Toronto, but 9 of them started that night.

  • Tony Alfaro, Def: 62
  • Osvaldo Alonso, Mid: 79
  • Brad Evans, Def / Mid: 70
  • Alvaro Fernandez, Mid:  70
  • Oniel Fisher, Def: 61
  • Stefan Frei, GK: 73
  • Joevin Jones, Def: 66
  • Aaron Kovar, Mid: 62
  • Nicolas Lodeiro, Mid: 78
  • Chad Marshall, Def: 74
  • Tyler Millar, GK: 58
  • Jordan Morris, For / Mid: 68
  • Cristian Roldan, Mid: 65
  • Roman Torres, Def: 72

Now I’m no math genius, but if you lose 18 players and add 8, you should still have some roster space available. In fact, an MLS team can carry 28 players on their roster at one time, so since the Sounders only have 22 on the current sheet, logic dictates you’ll see 4-6 more players either get signed from Sounders 2, or come in a late transfer window signing. The primary MLS transfer window runs from Feb 18 – May 11.  Then, the secondary one opens from July 10 – August 9.

The Sounders still do have one ‘Designated Player” spot available, meaning they can essentially sign a player for any amount of money they want and not have it hit the salary cap. (Dempsey and Lodeiro are the other two. Valdez was the 3rd, so they cut him to get that Designated Player spot back.)

So there you go; that’s your 2017 Sounders squad. See you at Century Link.

A Few Thoughts About Sigi Schmid

It’s the end of an era. Quite literally.

The Seattle Sounders have only known one head coach in all their days. Through 250 MLS matches, a host of playoff games and some lengthy runs through the U.S. Open Cup and Champions League, Sigi Schmid has been the only man driving the bus. And now that ride has ended.

While Sigi was alone in compiling 115 wins, 69 losses and 66 draws from 2009-1016, the Seattle Mariners are now on a 5th manager to pull them out of their 573-660 streak.

Sigi will get criticism for not winning the MLS Cup, a compliant that seemed to heat up after the Seahawks got their ring three Super Bowls ago. And the cry of, “Well we’re still an expansion team” fell on deaf ears as soon as the hatred Portland Timbers raised the cup ahead of the Sounders. At that point, the knives were out.

watch But Is 2016 Sigi’s Fault?

The Sounders had a run of bad luck last year that stretched them thin, so they stocked up on some guys who were supposed to plug the holes and then provide depth in 2016. At this time this year, here is what the Sounders lineup was “supposed” to look like:

Forwards: Starters: Obafemi Martins, Dempsey, Valdez. Bench: Jordan Morris.
Mids: Alonso, Evans, Ivanschitz. Bench: Kovar, Roldan, Friberg.
Def: Mears, Torres, Marshall, Jones. Bench: Scott, Remick.

Instead, Torres is hurt and Martins is sitting on a bench in China. Dempsey missed a month on National team duty. The Sounders were trotting out a lineup of role players and hoping Jordan Morris could dramatically exceed any reasonable expectation of a rookie. Evans got shoved back to defense and couldn’t contribute on offense. When Dempsey was here, he had no one to pass to. The team was so slow that defenses could push high up the field and pressure guys like Scott into turning it over in front of goal.

A lot of things went wrong this year, and I’m not sure if any coach could make that lineup work. The Sigi detractors have a fair point – that with the players we ended up with, he stubbornly stuck to a formation that didn’t seem to fit them. It’s really a double edged sword. If he was switching formations every few games (the way we all would playing FIFA on XBox) and it didn’t work, we’d be yelling about that.

And so that leaves Sounderland in a little bit of a quandary. Sigi was “our guy” from the get go. Adrian is “our guy.” GM Garth Lagerway is a Real Salt Lake guy. “Our guy” took a fall because the coaching staff and management team couldn’t get results in 2016 with the product they put together. Now we have to trust in Lagerway to find the right players and the right coach.

I’ll miss Sigi. I’ll miss wondering how a guy who spends every day on a soccer field and eating meals specially prepared by a scientific driven training team could possibly weigh in at 3 bills. I’ll miss standing behind the bench trying to figure out what crazy substitution is coming next.

But this is a reminder that nothing lasts forever. The storybook start to the Sounders franchise, with Sigi leading us to a 3-1 win over New York, still hasn’t had the magical payoff moment we’ve been waiting for. I hope it comes soon enough that Schmid’s fingerprints are still on the team. I hope we get to see Brad Evans and Ozzie Alonso lift a cup and we can remember Sigi’s original influence.

So long sir. I feel lucky that we had you take the reins at the beginning and lead us to where we are today. Best of luck in whatever challenge you take on next.

Explaining Why the Sounders are Playing Tonight, in 30 Seconds or Less

The Sounders play their 1st game of the MLS season on March 6. But today is February 23 and they have a home game that matters against a Mexican team called Club America. For you non-soccer fans, I will attempt to explain in the fewest words possible.

1) In 2014, while the regular season was being played, the Sounders won a different tournament called the U.S. Open Cup. That made them one of 4 American teams to qualify for yet another DIFFERENT 24 team tournament in 2015 called the Concacaf Champions League (Concacaf = Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football.)

2) In 2015, they played the “Group Stage,” where the 24 teams were split into 8 groups of 3, with the winner of each advancing to the next round. So the Sounders played 2 games against a team from Canada and 2 games against a team from Honduras. They won their Group, thus advancing to the final round of 8.

3) HOWEVER, due to the weird schedules of U.S. and Mexican leagues, you can’t actually play the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals of the 2015 tournament in 2015. So these rounds are being played in February, March and April of 2016. In each round, the teams will play two games against their opponent, one at home, one on the road a week later. Most goals after two games wins.

4) Out of the 24 teams that qualified for the tournament originally, 4 were from the Mexican League and 4 were from the U.S. The other 16 came from all over Central America; Honduras, Trinidad, Guatemala, etc… All 4 teams from Mexico and all 4 teams from the U.S. advanced to the final round of 8. So if you are a math wizard, you are able to quickly see than ZERO of the 16 teams from the other countries made it past the U.S. and Mexican teams. In fact, when you look at the overall records in the Group Stage, U.S. teams were 10-5-1 and Mexican teams 10-4-2. Yes, in 32 games, U.S. and Mexican teams lost a total of 3 times.

Now, you might ask the question, “Well if the U.S. and Mexican teams are the only ones to make it through the Group Stage anyway, why do they play meaningless games in 2015 and delay the Knockout rounds until a full 2 seasons after the teams qualified? Why not skip the Group Stage and just have an 8 team Knockout in the right year?”

That’s a question I don’t really have a better answer for than, “Well, it’s soccer.”

Adding to the lunacy of the whole thing, because each group has 3 teams, by mathematical definition all the teams in the groups can’t play in the same 24 hours, like every other tournament in the world would schedule games. So in a quirk of fate, last year the Sounders won their group BEFORE the other two teams in their group had played their final game. Thus, Vancouver had to fly to Honduras in the middle of the week to play a game that didn’t matter, wasn’t on TV and no one wanted to go to. I think they sent like 13 of their youngsters and were in and out in 24 hours.

So that’s why the Sounders are playing tonight.

Did the MLS Playoff System Work, to the Detriment of the Sounders?

This may be a stretch.. but I think the MLS playoff structure did its job in the Sounders vs FC Dallas series.

– The Sounders had to field the best 11 they had for the last game of the season vs RSL, to ensure they made the playoffs.
– By finishing 4th, they then had to play again that Wednesday in a winner take all match vs LA Galaxy, so they had to field their best 11 again on 2 days rest, or rest a couple of guys and take their chances.
– Predictably, as an older team, this led to small injuries that over the course of a season would be recoverable, but in the case of the playoffs, was not.
– So Dallas, already built younger, goes into the series with 7 days rest vs our 3. We got the win in game 1, but we were clearly taxed at the end.
– Now we roll Oba and Dempsey out again for game 2. That’s Game #4 in 14 days for these guys. I think our 30+ year olds at the end of a 40 game season were simply tired vs a bunch of 25 year olds who had one less game to play.
– Thus, the system worked. Dallas was rewarded for having a better record. And that slight edge got them to the next round.