Sounders FC will have a new look tonight, and not just because coach Sigi Schmid predicts “four or five” new faces in the starting lineup.
Tonight also will mark the first time the club wears its dark-gray kits.
Seattle’s usual bright green uniforms aren’t distinct enough from the Columbus Crew’s yellow. So, the Sounders will pull out their secondary uniforms for the first time, and this season those have been switched from blue to what is officially known as “Cascade shale.”
The club released the news early this week, but Schmid said that as of Friday he hadn’t told his club what will appear in their lockers at Columbus Crew Stadium.
“Hopefully, it will be a little bit of a surprise to them,” he said. “Sometimes those surprises work and help motivate your team. ... Hopefully they’ll be surprised and feel good about it being something different.”
The soccer player who may be most associated with the look sharp/play sharp philosophy is former Mexican national team goalkeeper Jorge Campos, who designed his own wildly colored keeper’s uniforms.
Campos, who was in Seattle this week promoting Mexico’s friendly against Ecuador on May 28 at Qwest Field, not surprisingly expressed his preference for the Sounders’ brighter look.
“Personally, I really like the green, but it’s not my decision what kind of uniform the team is going to wear,” he said. “In the United States, a lot of times the uniform changes are due to marketing. ... Obviously uniforms are changing all the time. For me, green is great.”
While green may be great, blue was only OK – at least in terms of results. Over their first two seasons, the Sounders wore their blue jerseys seven times, going 3-2-2.
“Our preference is to wear the rave green kit in every league match, home and on the road,” corporate communications director Suzanne Lavender said by email. “The shale kit is now the secondary kit, and will be worn when the rave green is in color conflict, or the rave green color is similar to the home team’s primary kit. Similar to last year, the electricity (yellow) kit will be worn for Champions League, U.S. Open Cup and friendly matches in order to differentiate these competitions from an MLS league match.”
Tonight, the Sounders also will have a new look in terms of personnel.
Schmid confirmed that midfielder Mauro Rosales won’t be available because of a hamstring injury suffered Wednesday at D.C. United.
And without naming other names, he implied that he will make use of the club’s depth tonight as it plays its third game in eight days.
“We’re less than 48 hours out from our last game,” Schmid said in a conference call Friday afternoon. “So there are a couple of guys we still want to give a little more time to, and there are a couple of decisions that are going to be made almost right as we get to the locker room pregame.
“We’ll probably make four or five lineup changes in the different parts of the field. Probably a couple in the defensive area, maybe a couple at midfield and maybe even one or so up front.”
After this game, the Sounders return home to prepare for Portland’s visit to Qwest Field one week from today.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (3-3-3; 12 PTS) AT COLUMBUS CREW (3-1-3; 12 PTS)
4:30 P.M., COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM; COLUMBUS, OHIO
TV: KONG 6/16. RADIO: 97.3-FM, 99.3-FM (Spanish).
HEAD TO HEAD: Seattle leads 3-0-2, including a win in the U.S. Open Cup final last season. The Sounders are 2-0 at Crew Stadium, including a 4-0 win last season, the largest winning margin in franchise history. The Crew visits Qwest Field on Aug. 27.
TEAM LEADERS: For Seattle – G 4, Brad Evans; A 3, Mauro Rosales; S 25, Fredy Montero; SOG 14; Montero; GAA 1, Kasey Keller. For Columbus – G 3, Emilio Renteria; A 2, Dilly Duka; S 15, Eddie Gavin; SOG 8, Gavin; GAA 0.71, Will Hesmer.
NOTES: The Sounders will be without Mauro Rosales (hamstring), Steve Zakuani (broken leg) and O’Brian White (blood clot). Coach Sigi Schmid also said there could be “four or five” lineup changes to rest players still recovering from the 2-1 loss at D.C. United on Wednesday. ... Columbus is 3-0-3 over its last six games. Seattle’s six-game unbeaten streak ended at D.C. ...The Crew is 3-0-1 at home. ... Columbus has scored seven goals this season and allowed five. ... This ends a stretch in which the Sounders played four of five games away from home. They are 2-1-1 so far, and 1-1-1 in the road games. After this, their next three matches will be at home. ... Hesmer leads MLS with four shutouts. ... Seattle is 6-5-2 all-time when playing in the Eastern Time Zone. ... Schmid coached the Crew from 2006-08 and won the MLS Cup there in his final season before moving to Seattle. Current Sounders Evans, Pat Noonan and assistant coach Ezra Henderickson all played on that championship team. ... Seattle will wear its “Cascade shale” kits for the first time. ... This is the 24th birthday of forward Lamar Neagle of Federal Way.
QUOTABLE: “Columbus is a team that’s on an undefeated streak right now, so they’re a difficult team. They’re certainly not happy about what happened last year when we came here to play (and won, 4-0), and they’re going to want to make amends for that.” – Schmid
NEXT: 8 p.m. May 14, Portland Timbers, Qwest Field; ESPN2.
Don Ruiz, staff writer