Updated Aug 17, 2012 - 3:12 pm
Babies and Whitecaps on Sounders radar
Defender Patrick Ianni was excused from practice while his wife gave birth. New Honduran midfielder Mario Martinez just arrived for his first Sounders practice, and is also a new father. Even head coach Sigi Schmid is a first time grandfather. His son Kurt, a scout for the Sounders, just became the proud papa of a baby girl.
Seattle's entire team has enjoyed just being home after two very disappointing losses on the road last week. Sounders FC was beaten in the US Open Cup final on penalty kicks at Kansas City, then lost a heartbreaking league match at San Jose on a stoppage time goal by Stefan Lenhart.
Schmid says the team is ready to bounce back in front of the home fans against Vancouver.
"I think we deserved better than we got with those results, but it is what it is. I think it was great for us to enjoy some home cooking this week and get ready for a very big match."
Seattle played to a 2-2 tie in the first Cascadia Cup match at Vancouver. The Whitecaps have made some dramatic roster moves in subsequent weeks, including a trade which sent former Sounders forward Sebastien LeToux to the New York Red Bulls. Vancouver brought in Dane Richards, and added more speed to its attack, according to coach Schmid.
"They have Camillo on one wing who's a dribbler and very dangerous. They've added Robson, who has a good left foot from distance and try to play through him. They're a team that's physical and aggressive. I think against Dallas they had something like 24 fouls, and are one of the league leaders in that category. We'll have to ready for that style of play."
There's plenty on the line with both teams dead even in the Western Conference standings. A new MLS tiebreaker formula will reward teams which score more goals. Coach Schmid says that's why it's vital for Seattle to win season series against teams like Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Portland.
On the injury front, Seattle got some bad news about defender Andrew Duran. The Sounders top draft pick was loaned to Atlanta for some matches, and tore his ACL. Forward David Estrada is eight weeks into his recovery from a broken foot bone. Coach Schmid is optimistic Estrada can soon start training with the squad.
Fans attending Saturday's match are asked to make a cash donation to the American Red Cross to help victims of the Taylor Bridge wildfire near Ellensburg, Washington. Volunteers will be stationed at all stadium gates to accept your contributions.
Ross Fletcher has returned from his work with the London Olympics. He and Kasey Keller have the play -by-play starting at 1 o'clock Saturday. Matt Johnson hosts the pre-game show at 12:30 on your Sounders station 97.3 KIRO FM
Follow Bill Swartz, 710 ESPN Seattle
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