Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fredy Montero Leads Seattle Sounders to 2-0 Victory Against Dallas FC

The Seattle Sounders FC took full advantage of a shorthanded Dallas FC squad on May 9, walking away with the 2-0 victory. With the win, the Sounders tie their franchise best record of five consecutive wins. At 7-1-1, the Sounders are already off to their best start in team history. And they'll have a chance to make some more history when they face Real Salt Lake on May 12.

With their win against Dallas, the Sounders are tied with the San Jose Earthquakes for the second spot in the MLS Western Conference table, trailing first place Salt Lake by a point. Given what's at stake, the Sounders' upcoming match against Salt Lake will be huge for both teams, as the winner will emerge with the best record in the West.

"It's great," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said about the Sounders' current win streak. "Today was tough for us because it's our fourth game in [12] days, so we had a lot of tired bodies out there. But you try to get people through it. That's why we tried cut the minutes for [Mauro] Rosales. We tried to cut [Fredy] Montero's minutes, as well, to keep us as fresh as possible because we have another game on the weekend."

As expected, Seattle's defenders played well against Dallas, walking away with their sixth shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith got tested a bit more in his second start, but the 22 year old was up to the task, finishing with five saves.

"It's been fun," Meredith told reporters. "You've got to be ready to step in and do the job at any time, which sometimes makes a backup position tough. I was prepared correctly before every game and luckily I've been able to extend our winning streak."

The Sounder's offense had a few chances in the first half, but they weren't able to get on the scoreboard until the 68th minute, when Fredy Montero - who entered the game in the second half - dribbled the ball past two Dallas defenders before blasting a shot into the post. Montero struck again three minutes later, nodding a deflected Alex Caskey cross into the post.

Seattle Soccer fans couldn't be any happier with the way the Sounders are playing right now, as they have established themselves as the best team in the MLS.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.
 
Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Fredy Montero: "We had a great battle today. We scored two goals…"

Miami Heat Send New York Knicks Home

The Miami Heat advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs on May 9, defeating the New York Knicks 106-94 at the American Airlines Arena. With the win, the Heat will now get three days off, before starting their second round series against the Indiana Pacers on May 13.

The Heat played like a team on a mission in Game 5, taking an 11 point lead into the halftime break. They stretched their lead further in the third quarter, never looking back on their way to the 12 point victory.

"We do not take this for granted," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the game. "This was a tough series. We feel very good about moving on and it'll only get tougher from here."

Spoelstra only used eight players in Game 5, but they all showed up to play.

LeBron James led Miami's offense against the Knicks, putting up 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were right behind him, finishing with 19 points apiece. Mario Chalmers resumed his role as Miami's X-factor on Wednesday, walking away with 10 points and 6 rebounds.

"There's a lot of pride that takes place in this kind of series," Wade told reporters. "Even though it was a five-game series, it was a very tough series to win. ... I thought it helped us. You couldn't overlook this team."

Besides being a little lax on the defensive end, the Heat played pretty well in Game 5, and I expect more of the same when they start their second round series against the Pacers. The Heat won three of their four games against the Pacers during the season. And I just can't see them having any problems against Indiana.
However, the Heat won't be taking the Pacers lightly, and they're getting ready for another tough series.

"It was one of my favorite all-time series, and I think I made a little name for myself," Wade said about Miami's series against the Pacers in his rookie year. "Knicks-Miami is a ticket seller. Miami-Indiana won't get the same hype, but Indiana is a better team."

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.
 
Sources:
Associated Press, "LeBron James, Heat close out Knicks in five games"
Linda Robertson, "Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade continues to refine his game as he ages"

Seattle Sounders Prepare for Toughest Test of the Season

The Seattle Sounders FC will play their biggest game so far in the 2012 MLS season when they host Real Salt Lake on May 12.

For the Sounders, a win won't just earn them the top spot in the Western Conference, but it'll also give them the opportunity to set a new franchise record for consecutive wins. With so much at stake, Seattle soccer fans can expect the Sounders to come out firing on all cylinders when the two Western Conference powerhouses meet on Saturday.

"You know 5 games in [15] days and we wanted to maximize what we got," head coach Sigi Schmid said about the Sounders' upcoming game. "Right now we've got 12 points. If we can finish this set with 15 points, that will be unbelievable and a tremendous tribute to the team."

The Sounders' defense earned another shutout in their last outing against Dallas FC, giving them a total of six for the season. They won't have the services of Zach Scott when they host Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field - due to a one game suspension for a hard tackle on Dallas midfielder Fabian Castillo, but they should be fine without him.

Salt Lake knocked the Sounders out of the 2011 MLS playoffs. But they'll be facing a very different Seattle team on Saturday. For one, Mauro Rosales will be on the field to direct the Sounders' offense, and Schmid also plans to reintroduce midfielder Alvaro Fernandez - who has been sidelined due to a quad injury.

"Yeah, I think Flaco's ready," Schmid said. "The only question for us is whether we start him or whether we bring him off the bench. The other concern that you have as a coach now as you put together your staring lineup is I think Flaco is ready and healthy, but probably not healthy for 90 minutes."

With Fernandez back on the field, the Sounders shouldn't have any problems moving the ball up the field. They're already playing like the best team in the MLS, and it's about time their record reflects their level of play.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.
 
Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Fredy Montero: "We had a great battle today. We scored two goals…"
Seattletimes.com, "Sounders FC's Alvaro Fernandez: 'I feel good. I'm ready to go.'"

Real Salt Lake Snaps Seattle Sounders’ Five-game Win Streak

The Seattle Sounders FC ran into some problems on May 12, losing 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field. With the win, Salt Lake robbed the Sounders of their opportunity to set a new record for the most consecutive wins in franchise history. But Seattle will still get to hold on to the second spot in the MLS Western Conference table, tied with the San Jose Earthquakes with 22 points apiece.

"I thought we played well for the first 45 minutes," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. "I think they had some looks at goal, but I don't think we gave up a lot of good chances. Obviously, they buried one of them and that sometimes happens. I didn't think we were as good in the second half. I thought they did a good job of taking a little bit of the air out of the ball, slowing down our attack. I think maybe fatigue affected us because our movement up front wasn't as active as it was in the first half. Five games in [15] days is a little bit of a haul, but at the end it's not an excuse."

The Sounders actually controlled the ball better during their match against Salt Lake, but they had a hard time getting to their opponent's post, finishing with zero shots on goal. Even without Zach Scott, their defense did a good job of containing Salt Lake's forwards, but they eventually conceded a goal in the 51st minute, when Fabian Espindola fired one past Bryan Meredith.

Even though the Sounders didn't finish their tough 15 day stretch the way Seattle soccer fans would have liked, winning 4 games in 15 days is still an impressive feat. The certainly don't have anything to be ashamed of, and I'm sure they'll bounce right back after they get some much needed rest.

Fortunately for the Sounders, they'll now get six days off before heading out to face the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 19.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.
 
Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Sigi Schmid: "When top teams meet, there's sometimes not a lot that…"