Sounders Blog with John Zielonka
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 @ 1:32pm
Sounders FC owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer shared his thoughts during a press conference on the acquisition of Shalrie Joseph and other potential moves.
Hanauer praised the 10-year MLS veteran Shalrie Joseph and his ability to play as a forward, midfielder and back.
"His [resume] kind of speaks for itself, but the things that we still like and that we felt would be particularly useful to our team is his versatility," Hanauer said. "He can play anywhere through the middle of the park. He's done well as a forward, he's obviously done extremely well as an attacking midfielder, he's done well in the holding midfield position, and he did okay at centerback."
The Sounders GM noted Joseph's capabilities as a leader on the pitch, experience and skills as a passer, vision and capabilities in the air.
There was speculation Seattle would use its last designated player slot to replace departed striker Fredy Montero. According to Hanauer, the Sounders needed to move quickly and that it was the only way to get the deal done.
"It was effectively the only way to get the deal done...Otherwise, we wouldn?t have done it," Hanauer said. "We realize that gives us three designated players between Mauro [Rosales], Christian [Tiffert) and Shalrie, but we also have two weeks left and we still have the ability to buy a player out if we decide to do that to open up a slot for a regular-salaried player or a designated player slot if that were something we decided to do. We rather have not absorbed the designated player slot, sure, but it was the only way to get the deal done."
Despite Joseph's arrival, the Sounders are leaving their options open for additional moves before the start of the season.
"I'd be lying if I said we're not also very interested in acquiring another forward. And I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a player who could potentially fill that designated player position, of which we?ve got three right now. That kind of gives you a heads up that we are considering all of our options over the next couple of weeks."
Saturday, February 2, 2013 @ 11:03am
by John Zielonka
Fredy Montero's departure back to his native Colombia to join the Millionarios left a huge gap at the forward position for the upcoming season. Montero accounted for 17 goals last year and 15 the year before in all competitions.
Sounders preseason training in Casa Grande, Arizona (SoundersFC.com)
Head coach Sigi Schmid does have several choices from the 2012 squad with returnees David Estrada and Sammy Ochoa. Seattle invited several young players to their preseason training camp to identify another potential double-digit scorer to complement striker Eddie Johnson.
In his Friday telephone press conference from Casa Grande, Arizona, the veteran head coach didn't exclude any alternatives, including signing another Designated Player.
"I think we have options with the returning players," Schmid said. "Obviously David Estrada and Sammy Ochoa are the ones who were with us last year, probably more prominent."
Schmid promised to continue his search and give everyone a long look to replace Montero.
"We're looking at different options," Schmid went on. "We haven't really looked at some of our other internal options, but we're still looking at possible DP options out there, as well. We haven't stopped searching for that, we feel in the near term we have enough quality to get by in that position, but there's certainly a lot of guys with opportunities to show themselves and show they've been playing better."
Sunday, January 6, 2013 @ 10:08am
by John Zielonka
Fredy Montero update
In the latest update on Fredy Montero's departure, Joshua Mayers from the Seattle Times was able to touch base with Helmuth Wennin, the Colombian's agent. Montero's representative indicated that conversations between the Sounders and Colombian side Millionarios were progressing. The loan deal could last a year rather then the previously reported six months.
The rationale for Montero's willingness to leave Seattle appears to be a desire to play in the Copa Liberadores. The South American club competition would provide a high-profile showcase for Montero.
Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans called up to U.S. Men's National Team
Forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder Brad Evans were selected to join 23 other players at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif. Traning begins on Monday and runs through Jan. 27.
Ex-Sounder defender Jeff Parke, who recently joined the Philadelphia Union, also made the squad.
The U.S. will play a friendly against Canada on Jan. 29.
Thursday, January 3, 2013 @ 2:56pm
By John Zielonka
The Seattle Times is reporting that forward Fredy Montero may be headed to Columbia to play with the Millionarios.
According to sources in the article, Montero is slated to play for the Colombia side on a six-month loan agreement. The deal needs to be signed off by MLS, which appears to be a fait accompli.
With the emergence of Eddie Johnson as the Sounders' primary scoring threat and Montero's struggles in the post-season, his days with Seattle appeared to be numbered.
Stay tuned for more news.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 @ 10:17am
My thoughts on what worked, what didn't in 2012 and what to expect next year.
- Forward Eddie Johnson re-emergence as a scorer was the best acquistion ever by the Sounders. He tallied 17 goals in all competitions, and became a sorely needed physcial presence in front of the nets. Johnson is my pick for the Sounders' Player of the Year.
- Keeper Michael Gspurning stepped into Kasey Keller's spot between the posts and proved to be more than an adequate replacement. The Austrian recorded 10 shutouts in MLS regular and post-season play. Seattle struggled when Gspurning was out for several matches, proving how valuable he was to the Sounders.
- The versatile Brad Evans played as a forward, midfielder and defender during 2012. In addition, he scored six goals and notched five assists in all competitions.
- Striker Fredy Montero scored double digit goals for the fourth year in a row. He tallied 17 goals and 11 assists.
- Osvaldo Alonso defined himself one of the top defensive MLS midfielders. He earned his second MLS All-Star selection in 2012 and was named the U.S Open Cup Player of the Tournament.
- Midfielder Mauro Rosales led the team with 15 assists and added three strikes in addition to his playmaking skills.
Misses, Near Misses and Question Marks
- The Sounders signed midfielder Christian Tiffert in late July. The German also earned one of the three Designated Player slots. He recorded a disappointing three assists in over 1200 minutes of play.
- The forward tandem of Johnson and Montero yielded phenomenal results during the regular season. Johnson appears interested to stay with the Sounders next year. The issue will be Seattle's willingness to pay Johnson DP-type wages and part company with Montero.
- Head coach Sigi Schmid managed to get his squad into the conference finals this season. He led the Sounders to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Seattle's management team thought they had the talent to make it to the 2012 MLS Cup. Schmid will bear the brunt of criticism for another failed attempt at MLS' ultimate prize.
- Steve Zakuani returned from a horrendous injury he suffered in 2011. His recovery is remarkable, but he's still a work-in-process. Zakuani can no longer make his patented runs across the endline as he did before his injury. Despite limited minutes, he still managed to score twice and record one assist in 2012. Next year will reveal the true extent of his comeback.
- The injury bug and a full schedule of matches (MLS, US Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League and one friendly) led to numerous changes in the starting rotation. Several of the Sounders broke down and the number of games may have taken its toll on a squad that needed more depth to reach the MLS Cup finals. Will the Sounders invest in quality versus quantity in a squad that's deeper in talent?
- Rosales is the playmaking midfielder that makes things happen. The 31-year-old led the team in assists. When it counts the most--during last two playoff runs--Rosales was injured or on the bench. The answer may lie in managing his minutes with a capable replacement to ensure Rosales is fresh and available for the 2013 postseason.
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 4:00pm
Before an ESPN national audience and a raucous 20,000+ Timber fans at JELD-WEN Field, the Sounders remained winless for the seventh straight match.
Seattle lost 2-1 to their I5 Portland rivals on first half tallies by Kris Boyd and David Horst. Seattle striker Eddie Johnson scored his fifth of the year in the 58th minute to reduce Portland's advantage to one goal. On both tallies, the Portland scorers were able to get behind Seattle's defenders.
Despite holding a 17-13 advantage in shots, the Sounders were unable to earn a point in a chippy affair that featured six yellows and two ejections. Fredy Montero and Lovel Palmer were both sent off in extra time by referee Ricardo Salazar.
Man of the Match: David Horst
The Portland defender scored his first MLS goal on a header in the 25th minute to help the Timbers win their first ever over Seattle in league play.
"I'll never forget it. It's got to be one of the greatest moments of my life. To score against Seattle, in front of all these people, especially with the way we'd been playing lately. It's great to get a win for us, and the organization."--David Horst, Timbers defender
Portland's early 2-0 first half lead
"Today, we get two opportunities and we go 2-0 up. To be honest, I think we showed an unbelievable amount of character--I took my hat off to them in the locker room. I said, 'Not good tactics. Not good coaching. Just sheer hard work, determination,' and they got the just reward today because they got two quality goals."--John Spencer, Timbers head coach
"We made a few mistakes in the first half with them scoring the goal on a set piece and giving away the post goal to Horst. The marking was bad on Boyd's goal; I thought it was offside. It's tough how in the last seven games we continually play out of the hole, and when you're constantly playing from behind, it makes it difficult."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders head coach
"We just had to wake up, for whatever the reason is we keep giving up goals in the first half. In modern football today it doesn?t matter what league you're in, they keep getting harder and harder. In a derby game like this you have to find a way to comeback and tonight that didn't happen."--Eddie Johnson, Sounders forward
Sounders' winless streak
"I thought we had to show the winning mentality and start from a goal up, not two goals down. Seems the last five games we've had to dig ourselves out of a hole. In this league, you can't do that and going down two goals, it's difficult to get back, especially playing Portland here with their fans."--Eddie Johnson
"One of the things causing it is we've had too many guys injured. There's players who've logged a lot of minutes, but mentally I don?t think they're that sharp."--Sigi Schmid
Montero's red card
"Today wasn't that great of a day for me, things went wrong towards the end and they got out of control to the point where I had to leave."--Fredy Montero, Sounders forward
"...we haven't responded well in terms of our demeanor. We shouldn't be losing our composure towards the end of the game and that's something we have to seriously talk about and make sure we?re better at."--Sigi Schmid
They said it
"I played in Europe for the past three years and played in some big stadiums there, but this is as big as it gets here. It's fun, we knew it was going to be a physical game and consisted of a lot of emotion. Once again we dug ourselves in a hole and when you have 20,000 fans behind the home team it's hard to come back."--Eddie Johnson
Sunday, June 17, 2012 @ 11:21am
by John Zielonka, 710ESPN Seattle
Seattle returned from their three-week MLS break with a disappointing 4-1 away loss to MLS' newest entrant. Montreal moved from their temporary Olympic Stadium home and celebrated their first win at the newly refurbished 20,000 seat Saputo Stadium.
Montreal scorers included Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp, Andrew Wenger and former Sounder Lamar Neagle completed the scoring late in the second half. Patrice Bernier had three assists on the night.
In his 100th game as a Seattle Sounder, Fredy Montero received credit for an assist on Eddie Johnson's fourth goal of the year for the visitors.
Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado received a red card in the 51st minute on what referee Mark Geiger deemed to be a dangerous tackle.
Seattle 'keeper Bryan Meredith watched helplessly as all four goals were barely out of his reach inside the posts.
Man of the Match: Patrice Bernier
"We were very excited for the game and our first goal gave us some energy. A win like this is great in our new home with a great atmosphere, it was a special feeling. We can't ask for anything more than scoring four goals at home in a win."--Patrice Bernier, Impact midfielder
"He was very strong for us tonight. He balanced us and defended well. He did a good job of initiating the attack. Once he was able to link up with Collen and the attacking players, we were successful. I'm happy for him."--Jesse Marsch, Impact head coach
Hurtado's red card
"When that tackle on Collen Warner happened, we all came together and said; we've seen this three times now, so let's focus and make sure that we take care of things defensively and keep going forward."--Jeb Brovsky, Impact defender
Montero's 100th as a Sounder
"It was the game number 100 for me and it was meaningful. I can't change what we did tonight. But we will have another opportunity Wednesday and hopefully we'll do better and get the three points."--Fredy Montero, Sounders forward
"It's frustrating, it's not indicative of the team we are. It's embarrassing to lose like that, to be down a man and then start to play. It felt like they were playing with a couple more guys than us the entire game."--Zach Scott, Sounders defender
"We need to play much better than what we did tonight. We gave away goals on a missed clearance, by throwing a ball in, opening up a counter for their team... And I didn't think our pressure was good enough on their third goal. We made three mistakes on one play. We have to eliminate that."--Sigi Schmid, Sounders head coach
They said it
"Seattle is a good team, so it wasn't an easy first game. But I think that was the way you open a new stadium. We had a lot of good performances tonight."--Jesse Marsch
"They were opening their new stadium, so they played with enthusiasm and it sure helped them. They needed to be motivated, to play well and they obviously did. They fulfilled their obligations and we didn't fulfill our obligations of holding strong and battle."--Sigi Schmid
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:41pm
The Sounders extended their losing streak to three matches with the 2-0 defeat to the Columbus Crew despite their 21-5 edge in shots.
Justin Meram and Emilio Renteria scored their first goals of the year in leading Columbus to their four-match unbeaten streak. On the first tally, Meram outmaneuvered Adam Johansson to head the ball past rookie keeper Bryan Meredith.
Renteria's long-range strike in the second half from outside the box caught Meredith out-of-position. He watched helplessly as the ball sailed over his outstretched arms.
Mauro Rosales, Seattle's best playmaker, started the match on the bench still recuperating from his injuries. He entered the game in the 61st minute, but proved ineffective in getting the Sounders on the scoreboard. Until he returns to full strength, Rosales is the key to Seattle's offense.
Man of the Match: Andy Gruenebaum
Andy Gruenebaum reaches for the ball. (Photo courtesy: Troy Zielonka)
The former University of Kentucky stopper faced 21 shots in earning his third shutout of the season. He made several stops on Montero to seal the win.
"The one to my left he just hit it hard with his left foot and I was able to react and make a save. He hit one across to my right and I was happy I held onto it, ran into a few guys. He's a great player and he's going to get some looks every game, he makes those opportunities himself. It's a milestone win for us and hopefully we can build on it."--Andy Gruenebaum
Schmid was critical of individual mistakes by Johansson and Meredith that contributed to Seattle's three-game slide.
"You look at Adam [Johansson] letting the guy get inside of him at the back post. A bouncing ball...a younger goalkeeper is off his line a couple steps when he needs to be back. So it's individual mistakes, but we're also hurting ourselves because we're also turning the ball over at times. We've got to get on the same page."--Sigi Schmid
Video: Below is video I captured from the two head coaches and the Columbus stopper
Columbus' first-ever win over Seattle
On their seventh try, the Crew beat the home side in what everyone agrees is one of the most hostile environments in MLS.
"If you look at the entire game it was physical. We matched Seattle's intensity. They were playing in front of their home crowd and it's usually very tough to play here they have momentum. After the first twenty minutes we had composure."--Robert Warzycha, Columbus head coach
"First, I just want to give credit to Columbus. They came here and to play in front of 40,000 fans against a good team. They were well-disciplined for 90 minutes and hard to break down."--Eddie Johnson, Sounders FC forward
Fredy Montero gets ready to shoot. (Photo courtersy: Troy Zielonka)
The Sounders peppered the Columbus nets, but failed to get even one past the Crew keeper. Montero had the best chances of the evening to score. He leads MLS in shots, but has been able to find the back of the net on only three occassions.
"They were good shots from Fredy [Montero]. The keeper just had a good night. They just didn't fall for us tonight."--David Estrada, Sounders FC midfielder
"You have a lot of chances and the keeper made some good saves on Fredy's [Montero] opportunities, but on another day those shots go in. It was just not our day, but credit to those guys."--Eddie Johnson
They said it:
"I think it's been pretty well stated throughout the league that his is a pretty amazing place to play. First class, big time franchise. To win here 2-0 is pretty special and I feel happy to have played a part in the victory."--Cole Grossman, Columbus midfielder
"We were completely dominating in the second half, and most of the first half, too. They might have had two or three shots. We're definitely the better team. We just have to figure out a way to win here."--Marc Burch, Sounders FC defender
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