The hard knocks and misfortune continues for the Seattle Sounders. Steve Zakuani is still the hospital recovering from a broken leg and may not be at Quest for the planned tribute for him on Saturday (although I'm sure he'll catch some of the love on the T.V. or internet). O'Brian White joins Zakuani on the injured list after undergoing surgery for a blood clot leaving the Sounders with some big holes to fill. This Saturday we'll see just how far league leading depth can take the Sounders.
Oh Yeah We Have a Game: It's easy to forget the Sounders have a game tomorrow with all the drama around injuries, suspensions and tributes this week. The fact the Sounders are playing Toronto FC doesn't make it any easier. Still, this is not a game that the Sounders can take for granted, as Aron Winter's 4-2-3-1 (or 4-2-1-3) system has the potential to be dangerous when it is clicking. Fortunately for the Sounders, TFC has rarely been clicking in league play and haven't been able to implement Winter's system consistently due to a mismatch between the personnel they have and the personnel they need. TFC has also encountered serious travel problems in getting down to Seattle for the game. Arlo White has the scouting report for you in video format.
More news after the jump:
Ferreira Injury Leaves a Big Hole: Much of the attention over the last week has been on Zakuani and the Seattle Sounders. However, the injury to former league MVP David Ferreira may be an even bigger loss to Dallas FC than the loss of Zakuani is to the Sounders (Ferreira has gone to Colombia for surgery and reportedly has ruptured ligaments in addition to the break). The Sounders have plenty of midfield depth and starters like Brad Evans that can contribute more on offense. However, the loss of Ferreira creates plenty of formation problems for coach Schellas Hyndman. Big D Soccer debates whether Hyndman should move from a 4-1-4-1 formation to a more conventional 4-4-2 formation to compensate for Ferreira's absence.
Mullan Fined: Brian Mullan has been fined a stiff 10 games and 5k for his tackle on Zakuani. Mullan and the Colorado Rapids have declined to appeal the decision although the Rapids front office strongly disagrees with the verdict. Before the verdict Mullan voluntarily left Rapids practice to seek counseling to deal with the injury he caused. Brian Mullan will be eligible to play against the Columbus Crew on June 26th in Columbus. There's a good chance he won't have a warm welcome in Columbus for his MLS return.
Collin's Suspension Rescinded: Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin had a red-card suspension revoked this week. The card was given for a shove that sent new New England Revolution player Benny Feilhaber crumpling to the ground like his spine was ripped out. The problem, aside from the embellishment by Feilhaber, was that the shove was delivered by teammate Birahim Diop not Collin.
The Swiss Army Knives of MLS: In a parity league with a tight salary cap there will always be room for a utility guy that can play all over the pitch. The Sounders have our own formidfender Rodger Levesque to fill that role. Kevin McCauley looks at some of the best utility players in MLS and what the utility player career role can mean for their professional development and future earnings.
Sounders Players Coaching in the Community: The Sounders have been great in giving back to their communities. One of the ways the players are impacting their communities is by coaching the next generation of soccer talent. Props to Lamar Neagle, Nate Jaqua and Taylor Graham for sharing their skills and knowledge.
RSL Fall Short: Real Salt Lake failed to capitalize on the home advantage with a 1-0 loss to Monterry at Rio Tinto. The crowd was out in force and the atmosphere was electric. The play in the first half wasn't and RSL conceded a late 1st half goal. RSL dominated possession in the 2nd half, but failed to equalize ultimately losing the final 3-2 on aggregate goals. The team clearly missed their on-field leader Kyle Beckerman who missed the game due to yellow card accumulation. RSL has raised the bar for play in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) and hopefully the Sounders can rise to the occasion when they enter this year's tournament.
Trickle Down Soccernomics: The Burgundy Wave finally jumps on the CCL bandwagon in a bid to support Monterry at the World Cup Finals. In their analysis, surely success in the Club World Cup will spread throughout the whole of the region creating goodwill and harmony. And new cars in every driveway!
RBNY to Play in Emirates Cup: Unfortunately, RSL won't have the opportunity to represent the MLS against the best in the world at the Club World Cup. There will be another opportunity for MLS to represent on the world stage though. The New York Red Bulls have been invited to play in the Emirates Cup on July 30-31. Sure it's a meaningless friendly friendly tournament, but it least it won't distract the team from finally landing that Supporter's Shield. Oh wait, yeah, it probably will. Sounds good to me!
Vagenas Signs with Caps: Former Sounder midfielder Pete Vagenas has signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The veteran will provide some much needed depth and experience for the young Whitecaps squad. He isn't a glamorous signing for the Whitecaps, but he's a needed addition as the Caps attempt to navigate a crowded schedule with mounting injury concerns.
Bend it Like Davis: One team in MLS has used their excellence on set-pieces to slowly climb to the top of the standings. No, I'm not talking about the LA Galaxy and the David Beckham. I'm referring to the Houston Dynamo and their recent movement to 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. The move has been driven by a scoring a league-leading 43% of their goals this year directly off free kicks and corner kicks. The key has been stellar delivery by midfielder Brad Davis. Meanwhile, Becks is off in England to attend the royal wedding.