Sounders FC has lost three games this season – all at home.
Meanwhile, the Sounders not only are 2-0-2 on the road, but also 7-0-2 over their last nine Major League Soccer regular season games dating back to last season.
That road record – and the confidence that accompanies it – is about to come in handy. Seattle’s match tonight at Chivas USA starts a stretch in which five of its next six MLS games, and seven of the next nine, will be played away from home.
“We’re a good road team,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We don’t worry about being on the road. Eventually, you’re going to play the same amount of games at home as on the road, and you have to get results. But we go into road games in a very positive mindset, and that’s something that we’ll always continue to do.”
It’s something they’ve always done.
Since their expansion season of 2009, the Sounders have accumulated 81 points on the road. Only the Los Angeles Galaxy has more.
At home over that period, the Sounders have 100 points – fourth in MLS.
The club has at least a couple of theories why it has been so successful on the road.
“A lot of teams in MLS have a lot of respect for our team,” forward Eddie Johnson said. “They know it’s tough coming (to Seattle), and they just try to get 10 guys behind the ball and try and score on a set piece. Once they get a goal, they pack it in.”
Schmid suggests the Sounders’ league-record home attendance works both ways.
“Teams get pumped up to play here,” he said. “It’s not all about us. Yeah, the crowd helps us, and it’s great that the crowd stays behind us even when the game is not going our way; and that’s something as a team and as a club we’re very appreciative of. But also teams get pumped up when they play here. Teams find their best games sometimes when they play here, their best game of the whole year. So it’s a motivating factor for the opponent as well.”
The crowd doesn’t figure to be a major factor tonight at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., where Chivas draws an average of 13,856 per home game – 13th in the 19-team league.
The Goats are doing only somewhat better in the MLS standings, where their 4-6-2 record ranks 11th in points. However, they are unbeaten (1-0-2) over their last three matches.
“They’re a team that’s very confident right now,” Schmid said. “The addition of Danny Califf gives them a veteran presence in the back. … (Juan) Agudelo gives them a little bit of spirit, a little bit of hope in terms of a young, talented national team player that they were able to acquire. I think the spirit within the club is up. They feel they made some positive moves, moves that have been able to make them a better team.”
The Sounders have moved in the other direction, going 0-2-1 over their past three games and falling to third place in the Western Conference.
“We need to win,” defender Marc Burch said. “We need to get back in the win column and start moving up the ladder. It’s a Western Conference game, so it’s a big deal. Chivas is starting to get some points now.”
Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was fined and suspended two games by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for a two-footed tackle in the 82nd minute of the Columbus game Wednesday that “endangered the safety of his opponent.” The first game of that suspension will be served tonight. (A video of the tackle can be found at the blog address below.) … The MLS Players Union has released salary information for all players in the league. The top three Sounders in total compensation are Fredy Montero, $756,000; Alvaro Fernandez, $366,667; and Michael Gspurning, 275,000. (A complete list is available at the blog address below.)
SOUNDERS FC (7-3-2; 23 POINTS) AT CHIVAS USA (4-6-2; 14)
7:30 p.m., Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
TV: Ch. 5, THIS TV (Spanish). RADIO: 97.3-FM, 99.3-FM (Spanish).
CLUB LEADERS: For Seattle – G 4, Fredy Montero and David Estrada; A 2, four players; S 61, Montero; SOG 23, Montero; GAA 0.91, Bryan Meredith. For Chivas – G 2, Jose Correa and Juan Pablo Angel; A 2 Miller Bolanos and Ryan Smith; S 19, Angel; SOG 8, Angel; GAA 1.08, Dan Kennedy.
HEAD TO HEAD: The series is even, 2-2-3. The Goats lead 2-1-1 at home. Last season, Seattle went 1-0-1. The clubs will meet again Aug. 25 at Chivas and Sept. 8 at Seattle.
NOTES: Seattle takes a league-high nine-game unbeaten road streak (7-0-2) into this match. Chivas is 1-5 at home this season. ... The Sounders are winless over their last three games (0-2-1), while the Goats are unbeaten (1-0-2). ... Chivas is last in MLS with an average of 0.67 goals scored per game. Seattle leads MLS with 0.67 goals allowed. ... Chivas keeper Kennedy is second in MLS with 46 saves. ... The Sounders will be without midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who was suspended two games by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Sounders out due to injury include defenders Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni and Leo Gonzalez. ... Chivas midfielder Ben Zemanski (knee) is questionable. ... Chivas averages 13,856 per home game. ... The referee is Chris Penso.
QUOTABLE: “James Riley has been playing consistently for them. He’s a solid right back, and we look forward to seeing James again. He had a great run here and we really appreciate everything he did for us. We hope he does well, but not too well. With Pete (Vagenas), he’s been in and out of the lineup. I’m sure we’ll see him there. I’m sure he’ll have something to say.” – Seattle coach Sigi Schmid on former Sounders playing for Chivas.
NEXT: Seattle begins U.S. Open Cup play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, meeting the Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. The Sounders return to MLS play June 16 at Montreal.