David Beckham Set Piece Mastery Boosts L.A. Galaxy Over Seattle Sounders

When David Beckham was flying high with Manchester United, the phrase “Bend it like Beckham” became so popular that it was used as a title for a British film that enjoyed success, boosted by its title and a non-speaking appearance by the soccer superstar late in the action. Beckham has carried the set piece to the same kind of advanced art as Sir Isaac Newton did science and Rembrandt did painting.  It was on display Sunday night before a throng of 27,000 at Home Depot Center in Carson, California as he boosted the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders and a 3-1 edge in aggregate compilation.The Galaxy under legendary mentor Bruce Arena one week earlier had won a 1-0 defensive struggle in Seattle against the Sounders, thereby securing a one goal advantage in the Western Conference MLS semifinal encounter going into Sunday’s rematch.  It would therefore require a two goal margin for the Sounders to win and a one score advantage to force overtime action.   Anyone thinking that the Galaxy would therefore play it safe and move into a conservative mode from the beginning of play was proven wrong when the locals, now aided by home ...
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Sounders-Galaxy: Round Two

Defense dominated in Game 1, which ended in a 1-0 win by the Los Angeles Galaxy over the host Seattle Sounders in their Western Conference MLS clash last Sunday night. Round two commences at 6:00 p.m. PT Sunday in a nationally televised clash on ESPN2. The big question is what kind of match we can expect to see this time around.  The upcoming match at Home Depot Center in Carson, California, pits two of the most celebrated veteran coaches of soccer, Bruce Arena of the host Galaxy and Sigi Schmid of the invading Sounders, against one another.  Given their expertise as chess players, coupled with the teams' four meetings this season (with L.A. holding a 3-1 edge), it was no surprise that defense dominated in the last match. Here are two mentors who know how to create successful game plans.Sounders faithful point to the fact that the two decisive Galaxy wins over Seattle came in the first half of the season, when L.A. was the hottest team in MLS and the Sounders were struggling.  Schmid noted after last Sunday’s meeting that Arena had concentrated on disrupting the Sounders’ game in the midfield and that its success helped to account for ...
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Mike Fucito: Seattle Sounders’ Embodiment of Desire and Spirit

Mike Fucito fell in love with soccer at first opportunity. His desire and spirit represent an embodiment of accomplishment through continued effort. Fucito hails from Westford, Massachusetts, located some 35 miles from Boston. While living most of his life in Westford, he left the public school system to attend the Brooks School in North Andover. Head Coach Dusty Richard and assistant John Packard had the tools to develop a championship club as Fucito formed a tandem with Charlie Davies, who would ultimately star in international professional ranks with French Ligue 1 team Sochaux and be capped 16 times for the U.S. National Team.As seniors the duo of Fucito and Davies, who also played together in club action, rewrote the record books. Fucito captained a squad that won the New England Championship and was the only undefeated and untied team in league history.In order to achieve one requires an opportunity, and Fucito was fortunate in attracting the interest of one of soccer’s top coaches in John Kerr. Former U.S. National Team member Kerr coached Fucito at FC Greater Boston Bolts. Fucito’s performance with Kerr’s club prompted a recommendation that dramatically enhanced the player’s visibility and opportunity in the soccer world.Kerr was then head ...
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Edson Buddle Goal Difference Maker in 1-0 L.A. Galaxy Win Over Seattle Sounders

So often championship competition is resolved by strong defensive effort and one spectacular breakthrough. Such was the case Sunday night at the Xbox Pitch of Qwest Field in the 2010 MLS Playoffs.  Scoring ace Edson Buddle of the L.A. Galaxy took advantage of one long range opportunity, which proved to be the difference maker in a 1-0 triumph over the host Seattle Sounders before 35,521, marking the home team’s 32nd consecutive sellout and the second largest crowd ever for a conference semifinal. The premier team of MLS soccer during the season’s first half was a red hot L.A. Galaxy.  The club with second half momentum was the Seattle Sounders.  So in what could be termed the MLS third season, meaning the playoffs, who would get hot?The result on the Xbox Pitch Sunday night was scoring stalemate and this was anything but a surprise to anyone familiar with the nuances of professional sports.  Seattle’s Sigi Schmid and Los Angeles mentor Bruce Arena are two bona fide legends, so accomplished that each stands in the rarified orbit of having won more than one MLS Cup during long and productive careers.Couple the brilliance of two experienced coaches alongside the fact that they are both ...
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Seattle Sounders-L.A. Galaxy: Playoff Action Matches Coaching Legends

Sunday’s upcoming MLS playoff featuring the host Seattle Sounders and L.A. Galaxy has all kinds of star power, beginning with the two famous names coaching the teams.Action commences Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time at the Xbox Pitch of Seattle’s Qwest Field, but that is just the first leg of a two-match series modeled along the lines of  CONCACAF competition.  The home-and-home series adds drama.  Part 2 of the unfolding scenario occurs Sunday, November 7, at 6 p.m. PDT at Home Depot Center in Carson, California.  The rules for advancing to the next round are these: The team that has the edge in aggregate goal scoring after the two matches will advance.  In the event that the teams are tied, a 30-minute overtime period will occur.  Should they be deadlocked at that point, the issue will be resolved via penalty kicks.     Sigi Schmid contended that his Seattle Sounders were much better than their 4-8-3 first half showing indicated.  He proved his point as the rags-to-riches Sounders became the hottest team in the league, posting a dynamic 10-2-3 second-half record and winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open competition for the second year in a row. Their seasonal mark of 14-10-6 ...
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Seattle Sounders’ Winning Streak Stopped By Houston Dynamo 2-1

Seattle Sounders FC completed its MLS season by returning to Houston to face the host Dynamo team for the first time since being eliminated in last season’s league playoffs. That fact served as a kind of omen Saturday as the home team ended the longest MLS win streak of Seattle’s two season franchise history with a 2-1 triumph at Robertson Stadium before a crowd of 23,990. The streak had reached five games and a six-game unbeaten period. While the match was physical, the tempo had to be somewhat restrained at least in part due to the high level of humidity despite the fact that the temperature was only 83 degrees. As customary for the Sounders during their second half surge, the team scored an early goal to jump on top 1-0. The scoring began in the 12th minute. It was defender James Riley that initiated it with one of the premier goals of the season. The score occurred after there had been a good deal of quick ball exchanges near the Dynamo goal. Nate Jaqua ultimately was able to boot the ball back to Riley, who drilled a right-footed bullet into the Dynamo net. Rookie goalkeeper Tyler Deric was ...
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Chris Henderson: A Journey From Youth Soccer to MLS

Chris Henderson currently serves as Technical Director for Seattle Sounders FC. His is a storybook journey beginning with his roots in youth soccer, to a national championship at UCLA, to U.S. National Team status and finally to MLS stardom. Henderson began playing soccer at five and it was no surprise. He came from a family in Everett, just north of Seattle, where soccer was highly prominent. His father Dick was his coach at Cascade High during his last two years. This is the same high school that also produced famous football coach Dennis Erickson.The family included another prominent soccer player as well. His brother Sean would be a teammate of Chris’ at UCLA.Chris’ abilities obtained a berth for him on the U.S. Youth Soccer National Team. In 1989, the U.S. squad achieved higher honors than any that came before it. Also on that team with Chris was a prominent player with whom he is now associated with the Sounders, veteran goalkeeper and current MLS All-Star, Kasey Keller, a fellow pacific northwesterner who  played his college soccer at Portland University.“We made it all the way to the semifinal round,” Henderson reminisced while taking a break from a Sounders practice in Tukwila. “The ...
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Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamo Close Out MLS Season In Houston

Seattle Sounders FC closes its regular MLS season at the Houston Dynamo in a Saturday match at 1 p.m. PT.  The Sounders’ postseason playoff opponent in a scheduled October 31 home clash has yet to be determined. Seattle has achieved a 14-9-6 record with 48 points, a club record five game winning streak and six games unbeaten in MLS play.  A win Saturday could move the team over the 50-point threshold to a glossy 51 finish. For the host Dynamo it has been a tough season.  Houston has an 8-15-6 record and 30 points.  This is Seattle’s first visit to Robertson Stadium since being eliminated from the 2009 playoffs by Houston last November. Goalkeeper Alex Horwath has been called up by Seattle.  He will replace injured backup Terry Boss.  Horwath played at the University of Wisconsin before signing with Major League Soccer as a pool goalkeeper. A 1-0 extra time loss in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals is the only Sounders FC defeat in six meetings with Houston.  Seattle is 2-0-1 in the regular season series.  It ousted the Orange from the semifinals round of the 2009 Open Cup and earned a draw in the first leg of last year's playoff ...
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Saprissa Advances In CONCACAF Play By Edging Seattle Sounders 2-1

It was a victory that CD Saprissa of Costa Rica needed to advance to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and one it achieved 2-1 over the host Seattle Sounders FC before 11,434 Tuesday night. Saprissa Coach Rob Myers inserted Josue Martinez into action in the 56th minute.  It proved a beneficial substitution as Martinez scored the decisive goal in the 87th minute.  Goalkeeper Kasey Keller blocked a Martinez shot, but the ball deflected off the near post and into the net for the game winner.   It was a victory that CD Saprissa of Costa Rica needed to advance to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and one it achieved 2-1 over the host Seattle Sounders FC before 11,434 Tuesday night. Seattle, which has developed a recent pattern during a highly successful phase of scoring an early goal to get things started right, did so against Saprissa.  Forward Nate Jaqua tapped in the goal from 4 yards out in the 17th minute.  Action commenced with Mike Fucito delivering a free kick into the box from 40 yards out.  After the ball bounced in front of the goal Alvaro Fernandez launched a shot that was deflected to Jaqua.   Sounders nation responded ...
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Seattle Sounders Play Final Two Matches, Then On To MLS Playoffs

Sigi Schmid has requested that Seattle Sounders fans delay their Halloween trick or treating. The Sounders had their ticket punched for their second successive season of playoff activity with their recent win at Kansas City October 9, but it remains to be seen which team they will oppose. The date is set for October 31 at the Xbox Pitch of Qwest Field, hence the concern on the part of Seattle’s coach over delaying trick or treating. The team has already chalked up a better record than last season and with a win against the Houston Dynamo Saturday can boost their point total from a current 48 to 51. This is a worthy goal to shoot for, demonstrating a season of great achievement, but before that there is one more order of business. That order of business is Tuesday night at 7 p.m. PT with the final round of CONCACAF competition slated as Seattle Sounders FC hosts Saprissa of Costa Rica. The Sounders hope for payback since the first road match between the teams ended with Saprissa shutting out the Emerald City squad 2-0. The loss was particularly irritating to one player, Seattle defender Leo Gonzalez. The earlier match marked his first visit home since ...
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