Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eddie Johnson Leads Sounders to Victory Against Chivas USA

The Seattle Sounders FC increased their current unbeaten streak to five matches on Sept. 8 defeating Chivas USA 2-1 at CenturyLink Field.

With the win, the Sounders move up to the second spot in the MLS Western Conference table, trailing the first place San Jose Earthquakes by six points.

For a moment, it looked like the Sounders were going to be in for a tough game, as the "Goats" opened up the scoreboard early in the contest. Chivas midfielder Nick LaBrocca capitalized on a nice pass from Shalrie Joseph, firing a shot past Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning in the 8th minute.

Fortunately for the Sounders, Eddie Johnson had another impressive game, and he evened things out in the 29th minute, nodding in a free kick past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.

Seattle dominated the match from that point on, but they weren't able to get anything into the post.
Just when it looked like the Sounders would have to settle for a draw, Johnson struck again in the 89th minute, heading a Fredy Montero cross into the post.

"Obviously, we didn't start off well," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said after the match. "We put ourselves behind 1-0, but I think it's our first come-from-behind win all year. Then we showed some character in terms of coming back."

Even though the final score doesn't reflect how well the Sounders played on Saturday, I was impressed with the way they handled the ball. They did fail to capitalize on a few scoring opportunities, but it didn't matter thanks to Johnson's impressive performance. With his second goal, Johnson set a new franchise record for the most goals in a season.

"[It's about] winning games as a team, trying to get better as a team week in and week out," Johnson said after the game. "Everything else is a bonus. That's a bonus. I couldn't ask for a better team to share that with. They're the reason why I'm getting my goals."

With seven games left in the 2012 MLS regular season, the Sounders should be able to close out the year with the top spot in the Western Conference. Their defense has held opposing teams to only 5 goals in their last 5 matches, while their offense has scored 14 goals.

The Sounders will suit up next on Sept. 15, against the Portland Timbers.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.

Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Eddie Johnson: 'All the hard work we put in week in and week out, it's paying off.'"

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Seattle Sounders FC Settle for 1-1 Draw Against Portland Timbers

The Seattle Sounders FC increased their unbeaten streak to six games on Sept. 15, settling for a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers. Obviously, the draw didn't do much for the Sounders in terms of catching up with the Western Conference leading San Jose Earthquakes (who currently lead Seattle by eight points in the conference standings), but it was enough for them to hold on to the Cascadia Cup.

"Obviously for them it was a very emotional game," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the match. "You saw by all their players that went out injured and cramping up and little niggling muscle injuries toward the end that they had expended everything that they had in this game. From that standpoint I was pleased we were able to keep them at bay for the majority of the game."

Contrary to the low score, both offenses had their share of chances to score goals, but they had a hard time finishing their plays.

At halftime, the match remained scoreless, but the Sounders eventually opened up the scoreboard in the 57th minute, when Fredy Montero capitalized on a long goal kick from Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, firing a beautiful shot into the post.

"It was a long pass from Michael Gspurning," Montero said after the match. "The ball bounced and I tried to hold the defender. When I saw I was in the box, I just tried to hit the ball. It was good."

Unfortunately for the Sounders, a defensive lapse allowed the Timbers to equalize in the 78th minute.

Portland defender Rodney Wallace nodded a corner kick towards the Sounders' post, and Gspurning collided with Leonardo Gonzalez while going for the save, resulting in the equalizing goal.

The Sounders tried to regain the lead during the final minutes of the game, but the Timbers refused to budge.
The Sounders were without their main playmaker Mauro Rosales on Saturday, and it certainly affected the flow of their offense. Fortunately for the Sounders, Rosales should be back within the next week.

Hopefully, the Sounders will get back to scoring goals with Rosales in the lineup. With six games left in the 2012 MLS season, they still have a chance to secure the top spot in the Western Conference.

The Sounders will now head over to Honduras, where they'll face C.D. Marathon on Sept. 19. With a win, the Sounders will advance to the championship round of the CONCACAF Champions League.

David has been a fan of the Seattle Sounders for the past 3 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 
Sources:
Joshua Mayers, "Fredy Montero: 'We know we can be better, but at the same time…'"

LeBron James Poised for True Greatness

When LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, his critics tried to paint him as an underachiever who would never realize his full potential.

Despite the hostilities LeBron and the Miami Heat had to endure, "King James" put his doubters to shame during the 2012 NBA postseason, delivering multiple clutch performances on his way to his first NBA championship and Finals MVP award. During the summer, he led Team USA to a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics.

At this point, it's safe to say LeBron's decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers was the right move for his career.

As good as LeBron is right now, there's still room for improvement in his game. His teammate Dwyane Wade certainly thinks so, and he shared his thoughts during a recent interview with ESPNChicago.com.

"The sky's the limit," Wade said. "He's been very good. He has three MVPs. I don't know statistically how much more he can do, but I think just his dominance of a game and starting to really understand everything about the game now. It's starting to all come together. That's the scary part. … He's not afraid to say, 'Listen, let's go work out in the gym together. Let's make each other better.' It's a good thing."

It's comments like these from LeBron's teammates, that make me feel pretty good about the Heat's chances of becoming the next great dynasty in the NBA.

Unlike other NBA superstars that have played over the years, LeBron has always been highly committed to getting his teammates involved, and his willingness to share the ball has a lot to do with the Heat's success in the past two years. James' free-throw and perimeter shooting still needs a little work, but he's already the most complete player in the NBA.

As long as LeBron continues to evolve as a basketball player, the sky is truly the limit for him. I know it's still a little early, but there's a very good chance LeBron will be known as the greatest player to ever play in the NBA when it's all said and done.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter.
 
Sources:
Nick Friedell, "Dwyane Wade: LeBron can get better"

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Five Players in the NBA Right Now

Even though the NBA was going through a lockout this time last year, things are back on track, and it looks like the 2012/13 season will be one to remember. Here are the top five players in the NBA right now:

1. LeBron James
Without a doubt, LeBron is the best player in the NBA, and he'll probably end up dominating the league for years to come. Not only is LeBron a scoring machine, he's arguably the best non-point guard in the NBA at getting his teammates involved. At only 27 years-old, LeBron has already earned three MVP awards (He was also the 2012 Finals MVP). And with a career average of 27.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game, I'm sure they'll be many more accolades in his future.

2. Kobe Bryant
My biases might be affecting my judgment here, but I still think Kobe is better than everyone in the NBA except LeBron. Kobe is slowly approaching the end of his career, but he's still as dangerous as he ever was. With Dwight Howard and Steve Nash there to help him carry the Los Angeles Lakers, I expect Kobe to stay healthy during the 2012/13 NBA season, and I'm sure he'll put up impressive numbers.

3. Kevin Durant
At only 23 years-old, with a career average of 28.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game; it's probably only a matter of time before Durant secures an NBA title. Things didn't go well for Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2012 NBA finals, but that should give him extra motivation for the upcoming season.

4. Dwight Howard
Howard has been hampered a bit by injuries recently, but he's still the best center in the NBA. His scoring continues to improve, and we already know how good the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is when it comes to grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.

5. Kevin Love
Love is one of the most promising young players in the NBA right now, and he's arguably the second best power forward in the league. He averaged 26 points and 13.3 rebounds per game last season, and at only 24 years-old, I'm sure he still has a lot more of that left in his tank.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.