Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2013

Major Link Soccer: Montero Update

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During the recent Sounders scoring draught, it isn't unreasonable to look to the guy who led the team in goals for three of their four years. FREDY... Montero. Would this team's terrible luck tickling the back of the net continue with Montero up top? Possibly. He has scored only three goals in his nine starts with Millionarios, and didn't get on the board in their most recent match against Santa Fe.

SoundersWomen Open Against Oregon State

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The Seattle Sounders Women will once again be wearing the X-Box Rave Green. There are some familiar faces on the roster, if you followed the team last season. Lindsay Elston will once again be in the midfield, Annie Sittauer will be on the back line and Allie Beahan will be racing in the front. Isabel Farrell is on the team, but unavailable to play today, as are Rachel Mercik and Shannon Woeller due to NCAA rules.

Reign vs Red Stars - Livestream and Gamethread

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Professional women's soccer finally arrives in Seattle, by way of Chicago.

Tactics Analyst: An ode to Ozzie

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SEATTLE - For the first time in a while, Seattle Sounders FC dominated a game on Saturday in the 0-0 tie against the New England Revolution.

Both teams played a 4-4-2 hybrid formation that often looked like a 4-2-3-1. Deep-lying central midfielders disrupted play through the middle on both ends, making flank play the key to success for both teams.

Osvaldo Alonso unlikely to ever suit for US National Team

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Jurgen Klinsmann was in Seattle to check out the training facilities, talk to Sigi, look at two of his players (they're injured) and get a feel for the game experience here. At half time he spoke to the media. There were not many surprises. Seattle gets to see the United States in World Cup Qualifying because the organization here is willing to lay temporary sod.

Sounders vs. Revolution: Highlights, stats, quotes

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The Sounders dominated every aspect of the game to a rather absurd degree not to come away with a victory.

MLS/NWSL Gamethread: Week 6

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Sigi said it best when he mentioned that even with a win Saturday, Seattle will still be clinging to last place in MLS. There's no better reason for an orthodox Sounder to check out some of the other games around the league. Though some of the games on the slate may make those irritated with our team's slow start even more frustrated.

Sounders shifting defensive focus to more high pressure

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Shifting Steve Zakuani to the forward was a major topic of conversation this week both online and at practice. This also lead into Sigi Schmid talking about how part of the shift was due to the way that Seattle needed to defend Santos Laguna. It was a similar structure to what was used to chase the second half of the Salt Lake match and most of leg one's loss to Santos at home.

Sounders v Revolution - Gamethread

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The primary non-game related storylines are that Shalrie Joseph is facing the team with which he was one of the best midfielders to take the pitch in MLS. This is also the first match that Kevin Alston will miss while he steps aside and receives treatment for cancer. That is a much bigger tale than soccer.

Sounders Donate Point To New England - Costs Them Twice That Value

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In a result that can only be considered failure the Seattle Sounders drew the New England Revolution at home. The zero-zero result does not do the performance justice, nor does the single point in the table represent the match. Two months into the league play and Seattle can not manage a win despite the favorable schedule.

New England Scouting Report: Ghosts of Seasons Yet to Come

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It's easy to become accustomed to success. It's easy for a fan base to become complacent. It's a soothing story to tell yourself that your favored franchise is just intrinsically better than those others, entitled to competitive seasons year after year while other teams languish. That even if the biggest prize of a Championship never comes, your team is guaranteed to at least be in the hunt every season.

Reign announce shirt sponsor, admit ticket sales not as brisk as hoped

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Seattle Reign owner Bill Predmore once told me that the inability to make professional women's soccer viable was a simple accounting problem. Figure out the numbers, he said, and there's no reason it couldn't work.

Just days before the start of their inaugural season, Predmore now admits this undertaking was a little more daunting than he originally thought.

Nos Audietis, Episode 89: Featuring Kelyn Rowe

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The Sounders' pursuit of a CONCACAF Champions League title will have to wait until 2015, at the earliest. That's a rather bitter pill to swallow, and is not made much easier by the fact that the Sounders came within a goal of advancing to the final.

The silver lining of the elimination comes in the way the Sounders were eliminated.

Major Link Soccer: EPL Adopts Goal Line Tech

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Football has replay. Hockey has replay. Basketball has replay. Even BASEBALL has replay. Now, one league in the world's game has caught up to BASEBALL, kinda. EPL has crossed their E and dotted their L on contracts to implement goal-line technology, hopefully beginning to fix an issue that occurs, like, once every 400 club matches (and twice every World Cup).

Sounders v New England Revolution - Three Questions

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As the Seattle Sounders sit with zero points they get their best opportunity for a win when they take on the New England Revolution, another team struggling as the season begins. Amid injuries and fitness the lineup for Seattle is in question. This is also true for the Revolution, but they have the biggest "injury of all.

Sounders v New England Revolution - first win or more futility?

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It is a basement battle as the Eastern Conference bottom fish travel west to take in their rare visit to CenturyLink Field. The 1 PM match is on KONG 6/16 ((KIRO FM radio) as well as usual Spanish language TV and Radio. Enjoy the last home game for nearly a month as Shalrie Joseph plays against his old side.

Obafemi Martins "will not be able to play this Saturday" Sigi Schmid says to KJR

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Sigi Schmid gave Softy specifics about injuries and playing status today during his near weekly show on KJR. He addressed Obafemi Martins' availability, the club's need for players being at 100% and a couple players that played themselves out of the lineup who may be reentering it as well.

Sounders announce Four Match Pack on sale Monday

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In the past the multi-game packs featured a visiting European club and MLS sides. In 2013 it will only be MLS teams. The four matches which will feature a full stadium in full voice will be the biggest rivals - both regional and for trophies.

Seattle Sounders FC announced today via press release that the four pack will be games against Vancouver, Portland Salt Lake and Los Angeles.

Injury Update: Obafemi Martins returns, Johnson & Evans possible, Estrada likely out

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On a cold, wet day after a draw/loss in Mexico and a day of rest the biggest bit of news is that Obafemi Martins returned to Starfire and was training with the team again. Several other key Sounders are still out with injury and Friday's training session will go a long way to determining who gets used in Saturday's match.

New Way Forward

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Yesterday's Crunchy Power Rankings showed that Seattle is not a broken team. Even with all the injuries and call ups the data shows that the Sounders should be an average team and likely with health could even be good. But there is a major problem. The numbers show it. Your eyes see it.

The team is not scoring goals at an acceptable rate.

Major Link Soccer: NBC Sports Live Extra, Nigeria drops from tourney, USOC100

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Back when NBC and MLS announce their partnership NBC said they would carry every match online. Then reality happened and legal streams did not. Today, that changes. NBC Sports Live Extra will carry over 1000 events in the next year including MLS games.

The first NBC Sports Network event to be live streamed will be tonight's NHL matchup featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.

Crunchy Power Rankings: Week 7

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As promised, an updated power rankings as we're well into month two of MLS play.

In the first rankings in Week 4, the Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City were sitting at the top with a large gap between them and the next pack of teams in the 50s. That hasn't changed much this week with those two teams still at the top, though the next pack has improved up into the 60s.

Santos Laguna vs. Sounders: Highlights, stats, quotes

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Sounders can at least say they put themselves in position to win.

Video: Santos Laguna v Seattle Sounders CONCACAF Champions League Highlights 04/09/13

Major Link Soccer: Park Ji-Sung to MLS?

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The Canadian SB Nation sites are atwitter at the prospect of former Manchester United star Park Ji-Sung ("Korean naming convention) joining our fair little league. With Sharlie Joseph playing pretty well in the early going, Seattle may not be a likely destination for the South Korean national. Which is a shame; Even at 32, he would be a big time difference maker.

Sounders fall to Santos Laguna 2-1 aggregate

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Using Steve Zakuani and Eddie Johnson as forwards Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders created numerous chances, held their own in Mexico and still fall to Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Carlos Quintero opened the scoring for the home side with a 21st minute free kick placed as well as can be.

Sounders at Santos Laguna CONCACAF Champions League semis leg two - Gamethread

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This year is a bit of an oddity. It is very TFC 2012. Horrid start to the MLS season, yet a decent run in the CONCACAF Champions League. That year Santos Laguna shoved both Seattle and Toronto out of the tournament. The Sounders already have a better CCL performance than Toronto, beating a top Mexican side instead of the strange early 2012 LA Galaxy.

MLSSoccer.com previews Santos Laguna-Sounders

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At least one of the reporters gives the Sounders a decent shot at pulling off a miracle.

MLSSoccer's "Daily" leads with nearly 3 minutes of Sounders at Santos Laguna

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With the CONCACAF Champions League being the only game on tonight's schedule "The Daily" gives Seattle strong attention. This includes a report from Torreon.

Major Link Soccer: Champions Believe

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Club football is working its way to champions on every continent. Seattle Sounders FC and Santos Laguna are in the semifinals of their climb in North America. The Liga MX is favored in the contest (a Sounders win is listed at 9.00, Santos at 1.33), which isn't really a surprise. You certainly know of the big UEFA contests involving Malaga's trip to Dortmund and Turkish club Galatasaray needing a miracle to get past Real Madrid.

Amy Carnell out as Seattle Reign GM, Laura Harvey assumes role

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Just days before the start of the inaugural NWSL season, the Seattle Reign announced that Amy Carnell had resigned her position as General Manager and that head coach Laura Harvey would take over the position. The official confirmation came shortly after Liviu Bird reported the news on SoccerWire.

Reign Roster Revealed (Plus Bonus Goal Highlights)

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The official Reign roster is now available and set ahead of their season opener against the Chicago Red Stars this Sunday. The expected absent stars of Hope Solo, Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe are spotted, along with locals Kate Deines (Issaquah), Lyndsey Patterson (Kent), and Emily Zurrer (Crofton BC).

Three-back line has taken root in Seattle

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During this rather awful start by the Seattle Sounders, one of the common calls is for the team to do something drastic in terms of formations. Whether it's calls for a three-man backline a three-forward set or something else, there seems to be this idea that one of Sigi Schmid's biggest problems is that he's hopelessly devoted to the 4-4-2 or some version of it.

Sounders Academy 18s again powered by Morris, 16s use variety

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April is a home month for the Sounders Academy. The team release has the data from the 3-0-1 weekend, but there are some notable things that happened on Saturday when I was able to watch. First the team notes.

The Sounders FC Academy squads continued their successful 2012-13 campaigns with an unbeaten (3-0-1) home series with San Juan Soccer Club and Real Salt Lake.

Winning in Mexico - History Lesson

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It happened on August 23 of 2011. A team of mainly reserves (this isn't hyperbole) went down to Monterrey, Mexico and pulled off a 1-nil win. That Seattle Sounders side faced a fairly standard Rayados lineup. They won. It was an upset, but the stakes were not high. It damaged the mystique, but was not an advancement in a knockout stage.

Major Link Soccer: Alston out with cancer, Fire & Timbers win, more

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Kevin Alston is taking time away for soccer and for all the wrong reasons. The former All-Star was diagnosed with cancer (Official Revolution Blog). Chronic myelogenous leukemia is treatable and Alston is expected to return to play at some point.

"The Revolution fully supports Kevin as he begins treatment," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said.

Sounders at Santos Laguna - leg two provides challenge, but there are solutions

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American teams do not win in Mexico. There is a simple trilogy of competitive victories in the modern era for the Americans. The United States did it at Azteca in a friendly under Jurgen. FC Dallas pulled it off in the CONCACAF Champions League against a reserve side. And of course the Seattle Sounders beat Monterrey.

Injury Update: Johnson should play, Evans questionable, Martins still out

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Obafemi Martins is clearly not going to play on Tuesday night in Torreon as the Seattle Sounders try to upset Santos Laguna and continue to make history in the tournament. But the team may, or may not, have the services of Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans.

"Eddie did more today," head coach Sigi Schmid said following a rainy day of training on Sunday.

A gathering...

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Santos Laguna host the Sounders in the second leg of the CONCACAF semifinals. The Sounders head to Torreón in hopes of advancing to the Champions League Finals. They'll need at least at least two goals to make this happen. There're a few other scenarios that will equate in an advance for the Sounders, but I don't want to delve too deep into the intricacies of soccer rules and potential outcomes.

Stats: Scoring the Crunchy Power Rankings

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A couple of weeks ago I posted the first edition of the 2013 Crunchy Power Rankings. I'll post another update after this weekend's games, but today I wanted to write about some validation I did of the methodology.

The basic idea of the CPR rankings (yes, this is redundant like MLS soccer and ATM machine) is to rank teams based on large-sample-size stats that correlate with long term success rather than just goals and wins, which fluctuate significantly over the short term.

MLS Gamethread: Week Five

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Friday
Sporting Kansas City - DC United: 5:30 PM
In our Game of the Week, the Uniteds (sic) travel to... what is that arena called now? Just Sporting Park I guess. United has performed better than their spot in the standings would suggest, so this should be a cracker.
Prediction: 2-1 Kansas City

Saturday
Toronto FC - FC Dallas: 1:00 PM
The battle of the FCs, it isn't hard to predict a Dallas victory.

Sounders U23s sign two Academy Alumni and Harris from UW

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With just five weeks until the Sounders U23 season kicks off against the Portland Timbers U23s the South Sound club signs three more players to the roster. All three play at the University of Washington during the college season. Two are form Sounders Academy players.

Ian Lange and Michael Gallagher were paired at centerback when in the Academy, but their college careers are different.

No Sounders FC, No problem - Watch This

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When Major League Soccer gave Seattle Sounders FC the weekend off to prepare for their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal it left a hole in an already empty April. But not to worry, besides the various MLS games this weekend there is other soccer Sounders fans need to watch.

Friday - Sounders pre-Academy
Out on field 11 at Starfire the distant future will play a match at 5PM.

Nos Audietis, Episode 88: What is going on here?

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We had hoped to have something more uplifting to talk about after waiting a few extra days to record. It didn't quite work out that way. While the result wasn't exactly a disaster (losing 1-0 at home at least gives the Sounders a puncher's chance), it was not the feel-good moment we had been hoping for.

Fantasy MLS: Three tried and true methods for fantasy dominance

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On the surface, fantasy soccer looks really hard--a concept that we'll demonstrate through a totally made up concept that I just invented: the Drake Equation for Fantasy Soccer.

So there are 20 teams in Major League Soccer, right? And each team has about 15 players who get regular playing time?

Major Link Soccer: WCQ Ticket Sales, Rookie of the Month

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Sounder at Heart, Field Gulls, Lookout Landing, and now Sonics Rising. Seattle may not yet be a four sport city, but it is a four BLOG city. As far as I know, SR is the only blog on the network devoted to a team that isn't the member of a league.

Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Santos wasn't kind to the Sounders and their chances of moving on to the final.

Obafemi Martins out next week, Eddie Johnson does fitness work

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Seattle Sounders FC will likely be without at least two of their four listed forwards for the match at Santos Laguna next Tuesday. Obafemi Martins is getting his knee looked at by a foreign specialist and David Estrada's eye is still healing from a non-foul incident in the RSL game. Eddie Johnson may be back for the next match.

Formation change shows a way forward?

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There's going to be a lot of time spent on how that 4-2-3-1 played, because it was different. What was different about it was not that it was used. Sigi Schmid has used that general shape before and in some ways a majority of time when Montero was here the 4-4-2 played very similar. Just look at how Alex Caskey was asked to play.

Monthly look ahead: underdog every time in April

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Looking at the month ahead and things get slower, if not easier. There's a little problem when a club loses as much as the Seattle Sounders have to start the season. They become the underdogs in all upcoming matches. Though there are only two MLS games, the away leg of the CCL and two Reserve games for the big club there is no reason that previous performances say they should win any of them.

Australian Hannah Brewer Signs with Sounders Women

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Their latest acquisition is Hannah Brewer, an Australia U-20 International. She is a young left back with a ton of experience. At 19, it's hard to believe that she could have four seasons of professional soccer experience, but she's been with the W-League Newcastle Jets since she was 15. She is the youngest player ever signed to the club.

Much ado about nothing: Chanting 'Sounders reject' at Herculez Gomez pretty harmless

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Let's be clear about one thing: Herculez Gomez is no one's reject.

The 30-year-old may have been a late-bloomer, at least when it came to opportunity, but he's now a fixture on the United States national team, one of the top players on one of CONCACAF's top teams and has a resume that includes leading Mexico in scoring and World Cup appearances.

Sounders vs. Santos Laguna: Highlights, stats, quotes, photos

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Let's go ahead and call that match a step in the right direction. Was it far enough? No. But using a lineup that featured seven changes from the weekend, the Sounders managed to hang with one of the best teams in CONCACAF and with a little luck could have actually pulled out a victory.

I'm sure that won't make for much consolation, but the Sounders will head into Torreon, Mexico with at least a glimmer of hope at making history.

Sounders FC vs. Santos Laguna photo gallery

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View this gallery here.

Tactics Analyst: New system shows promise against Santos

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SEATTLE - Sounders FC started another new lineup on Tuesday, trying to erase the bad taste of two consecutive league losses. The 1-0 loss to Santos Laguna wasn't the result Seattle wanted, but it was a stylistic step in the right direction.

The starting shape was a 4-2-3-1, shifting into a 4-3-3 in attack.

Sounders v Santos Laguna CCL semis leg one - gamethread

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After almost no time to recover from the loss in league play the Seattle Sounders move on quickly to a more difficult opponent, but an opponent which they've demonstrated that they are good enough to beat. The Sounders are as good as any in MLS against Liga MX sides. Santos Laguna is better. Seattle enters 1-3-1 in their last five.

Sounders show improvement still lose - Santos Laguna up 1-0 into leg two

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With a starting lineup that was clearly chosen to send a message Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders played a better game of soccer than their recent past. It was also quite different. The aggressive 4-1-4-1 put pressure higher than Seattle typically deploys. This created a few transitions further up field and led to some interesting attacks, but the Santos Laguna counter bypassing that midfield either over the top or with one touch 20 yard passes would create too many counters.

Sounders v Santos Laguna Leg One Video Preview

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MLSSoccer.com provides this video preview of the match. Sounder at Heart adds some keys to the game.

Sounders v Santos Laguna CCL semis leg one - Three Questions

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Santos Laguna's list of conquered foes in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League is fairly long. They did even better than Seattle Sounders FC in the Group Stage beating Toronto FC and El Salvador's Aguila in a total score of 13 to 1. The would advance to the knockout round as a better seed than Seattle and would face the Houston Dynamo.

Champions League match offers chance at immediate course correction

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After a game, or at least a first half, that most of the Seattle Sounders FC would like to forget they quickly return to action on Tuesday night in CONCACAF Champions League play. They do so with little practice, instead acting on instinct and embedded training. The focus will be on execution of their system as they face Liga MX power Santos Laguna (currently 6-2-4 in league play).

Sounders v Santos Laguna CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals

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At 7PM on Tuesday night the Sounders will return to play with their earned diversion from the MLS regular season. Unfortunately their CONCACAF Champions League match is against one of the two or three best teams in the region over the past few years. Leg two is April 9th. Watch with us at Golazo HQ.

Initiative lost, now what?

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In the broadest of senses match tactics are either proactive or reactive. A side either forces the opposition to adjust or does the adjusting. The most identifiable reactive tactic is the counter. This staple of soccer is winning games for clubs both great and small. But there are many ways to counter - direct play, rapid short passing, speedsters bull rushing the goal, etc.

No rest for the weary - Champions League Tuesday

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Tuesday night's 7 PM match against Santos Laguna is not close to selling out. It is the opportunity to see one of the powers of North America live, with a trophy within reach. Just two wins and two non-horrid results and Seattle or Santos not just advances to the CCL FInal, but wins it. An MLS Cup is nice.