Gallery: Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Lamar Neagle earns Sounders a late point in thriller

Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Games between these two Western Conference giants have produced some special moments over the years. Sunday night’s clash was no different. It’s not an official MLS rivalry. But it’s become as heated as some of the league’s established derby games.

The Galaxy arrived at CenturyLink Field desperate for a result after what has been a really tough year for the club. But they showed a real sense of togetherness and fought well against a Sounders side that led the West heading into the weekend.

LA were rewarded for their play when Gyasi Zardes headed them in front inside the first 25 minutes. He connected with Romain Alessandrini’s cross and the Galaxy looked good for their lead. They created several more chances but ultimately couldn’t add to their tally.

As is so often the case with the Sounders, they made their opponents pay for failing to put the game to bed. Substitute Lamar Neagle latched onto the end of Roman Torres’ cross to fire a deflected shot past Brian Rowe and into the back of the net in the 85th minute. It was Neagle’s first goal for the club since returning from DC United last month .

There was still time for more drama though. Roman Torres saw red after being adjudged to have fouled Jermaine Jones on the edge of the Sounders penalty area. LA failed to convert the free-kick and the game ended 1-1. The result leaves Seattle behind Portland at the top of the West. LA Galaxy are ten points outside the playoffs down in ninth.

Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Exclusive photos courtesy of MLSGB photographers Paul Kahl and Denise McCooey:

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MLS Fantasy Focus: Drop your Revs defenders ahead of Round 9

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

Another double gameweek provided us with the full return to form of 2015 Supporters’ Shield champions New York Red Bulls, NYCFC’s first home victory of the season and the frighteningly common sighting of another beautiful Didier Drogba goal. Five years ago, who could’ve imagined David Villa, Didier Drogba and Giovani Dos Santos all scoring on the same weekend in the same league – with that league being in the U.S.!!?

Week 9 Review

The Good:

Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew Jordan Morris

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris ($8.2) scored for his third-straight league game as Seattle made it three home wins in a row. The Sounders are certainly making up for their sloppy start to the season – possibly affected by finally having real grass at their home stadium, CenturyLink Field. Likewise, the Red Bulls, having won just one of their opening seven fixtures, made it back-to-back wins with their 4-0 victory over a previously high-flying FC Dallas side this week. Mike Grella ($8.1) has scored in both of their last two games and picked up 9 points for the week, impressively adding to his 14 from the week before. Remaining in New York, NYCFC’s Spanish legend David Villa ($11.4) netted yet another double in his side’s 3-2 win against an uncharacteristically poor Vancouver. This brace, plus a solid performance against Montreal on Wednesday, gained Villa an unbeatable 21 points for the week. Despite Villa adding his 5th and 6th goals of the season, it was only NYCFC’s second win of the year and their first at home! Carlos Rivas ($9.4) netted a 90th minute equaliser to earn his Orlando side a point on their travels away to New England Revolution. However, OCSC are still on a four-match winless run that they will be desperate to curb.

The Bad:

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It was a poor week for LA Galaxy and especially their former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole ($7.7), who picked up two yellow cards within 32 seconds of each other. The first was for time wasting, with the second given out for a poor tackle, which saw LA reduced to 10 men. This was Cole’s first red card since 2012 and meant he obtained 0 points for the week…and at least a one match ban. San Jose’s Anibal Godoy ($7.2) saw red a short way into the second half in his team’s 1-1 draw away to Philadelphia. The Earthquakes remain winless on the road this season and Godoy’s contribution certainly didn’t help their cause last weekend. It was also a poor weekend defensively for FC Dallas, who let in four against a Red Bulls side that had previously lost their ability to score! Following a 3-0 defeat in Round 7 against the Whitecaps, Dallas have lost top spot in the Western Conference. Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez ($5.9) will be bitterly disappointed with the loss, as he has only just been reinstated as the No. 1 after being ousted by Chris Seitz ($4.7).

Week 10 Preview

Quick Tips:

The Easy Choice: Sebastian Giovinco ($12.4)

If you are one of the small proportion of managers that does not own this Italian maestro, now is certainly the time to sign him up. Toronto play their first home game of the season against a Dallas side that have conceded seven goals in their last two games. With Giovinco’s ability to gain bonus points without even scoring, he’s a must have for Round 9.

Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 2016

The Low-Budget Superstar: Lamar Neagle ($7.7)

Neagle has been performing terrifically for DC United this season and it would be a shock if he fails to build on his terrific form (which has seen him pick up an average of over 5.5 points a game) against a defensively weak NYCFC backline.

The Form Pick: Shkelzen Gashi ($9.2)

Gashi has been in terrific form over the past few gameweeks, picking up two goals and two assists in April alone. His Rapids team face a strong Real Salt Lake side this weekend but that surely won’t stop the twice Swiss League top scorer from using all of the tricks in his incredibly vast book.

The Must-Sell: New England Revolution Defenders

With both Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.9) and Chris Tierney ($8.1) out injured, the Revs defence is looking depleted. They still have Andrew Farrell ($8.0) and Jose Goncalves ($8.0) fit, but I can’t see them keeping many clean sheets or gaining many bonus points with both Watson and Tierney missing. However, MLS is a notoriously unpredictable league and it’s open for the Revs backline to prove me wrong…

PHOTOS: Exclusive images from Vancouver and Seattle’s CONCACAF Champions League clash

Just days after the Vancouver Whitecaps piled more misery on the Seattle Sounders with that 3-0 MLS win at CenturyLink Field, the two sides met again in their first CONCACAF Champions League game of the year at BC Place.

The game between the Cascadia rivals ended 1-1 on Wednesday night in what will be seen as a better result for the Sounders than the Whitecaps, especially when you consider Sigi Schmid’s team’s recent form.

Going on the road at earning a point in the Champions League is never a bad result and the Sounders will now hope to kick on in league play when they take to the field against LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Sunday.

A Lamar Neagle goal tied the game in Vancouver after defender Tim Parker scored with a backheel flick just after 61 minutes as both sides fielded several reserve players.

The two teams will next meet in the Champions League on September 23 at CenturyLink Field in what will be the Sounders’ final group stage game.

Check out the photos below taken by our North American photographer, Denise McCooey:

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps CONCACAF Champions League Lamar Neagle

MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders 

Venue: PPL Park – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Philadelphia Union 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Seattle Sounders 2/1

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union play host to Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders in the first of seven midweek fixtures on Wednesday night in a game that sees a repeat of last year’s US Open Cup final.

Arguably the worst side in MLS, Philadelphia have the worst points-per-game ratio in the league and are the only team to average below a point a game with 0.88 per match so far.

And having lost three out of their last four, Philadelphia need a win, and soon. If there was a good time to play Seattle, this would be it as the Sounders will be without Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins for the trip to PPL Park on Wednesday.

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The Union lost 5-1 at LA Galaxy last time out and need to try and bounce back from that heavy defeat here against last season’s MLS Supporters’ Shield winners.

Philadelphia Union’s record: P17 W4 D3 L10

As mentioned before, Martins and Dempsey will be missing from the Sounders’ starting lineup and with Chad Barrett also out, the Sounders are struggling with attacking options.

Incidentally, it was all three of those strikers who struck in last year’s Open Cup final win against the Union as the Sounders lifted the trophy at PPL Park.

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Sigi Schmid will likely field Lamar Neagle as the lone striker once again as he did in Saturday’s disappointing home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Despite losing to the Quakes for the second time this year, they remain top of an extremely strong Western Conference, for the time being, and know they need to return home with three points from Wednesday’s clash in Philly.

Seattle Sounders’ 2015 MLS record: P16 – W9 – D2 – L5

Losing two of their last three represents a dip in form but Seattle will see this trip to Philadelphia as the perfect chance to grab three points and they should do so.

The Sounders have won three of the last four meetings between the sides, including last season’s Open Cup final after extra-time, and will be the more confident of the two sides as a result.

Team News

Philadelphia Union could be without three of their strikeforce as Fernando Aristeguieta, Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux are all doubts. CJ Sapong may start as the lone striker once again.

Seattle Sounders are missing Obafemi Martins, Osvaldo Alonso and Chad Barrett through injury, while Gonzalo Pineda is a doubt. Clint Dempsey is still serving a three-game suspension so Lamar Neagle is expected to start up front again.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s last five: W/L/W/L/L

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: Philadelphia have only kept one clean sheet against the Sounders in MLS regular season matches – a 2-0 win in 2011.

Key Player: Lamar Neagle – The dynamic utility man will have a hard time filling in for Martins and Dempsey but he will hold the key to the final result in this one.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 1-2 Seattle Sounders – Seattle are without their star frontmen in Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins but they should still have enough to dispatch the Union by the odd goal.

Seattle Sounders flex attacking muscles in 5-0 win over UCLA

The Seattle Sounders got their preseason preparations off to the perfect start with a 5-0 win against UCLA in California last night, with all four strikers that featured finding the net.

Head coach Sigi Schmid started with a strong lineup that included Stefan Frei, Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Brad Evans, Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda.

Obafemi Martins and Lamar Neagle partnered one and other up top and both got themselves on the scoresheet in the first 45 minutes.

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An entirely different team came out for the second-half as Schmid made eleven changes at the break but the performance levels didn’t drop as Seattle went on to score three more.

Second-half forwards Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper both scored with midfielder Michael Azira finishing off the rout for last year’s MLS Supporters’ Shield winners.

“It’s always good when forwards score goals,” Sigi Schmid said after the game. “It always makes them happy but it was the quality of the goals that was important.”

The Sounders will stay in California until the end of the week, where they now look ahead to facing Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy on Friday.

Seattle will then travel out to Tucson, Arizona for the Desert Diamond Cup where they will play four matches to finalise preparations for the 2015 season which begins on March 6.

The Sounders take on the New England Revolution on the opening weekend on Sunday March 8.

Will the Seattle Sounders win the Western Conference again this year?

Obafemi Martins further emphasises importance in Seattle’s comeback display

The Seattle Sounders rallied in the second-half to earn a valuable point away at fellow MLS Supporters’ Shield contenders LA Galaxy on Sunday night, with Obafemi Martins at the heart of everything the Sounders did going forward once again.

A Seattle win would have wrapped up the Supporters Shield a week before the end of the season, but the draw means that their is all to play for when the sides meet again in the final game of the regular season at CenturyLink Field.

Goals from Baggio Husidic and Marcelo Sarvas either side of halftime put LA 2-0 up, and all looked to be going accordingly in Landon Donovan’s final regular season home game.

But Seattle weren’t to be defeated that easily, and Martins inspired them to come back and earn a draw as he picked up two assists for Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle goals in quick succession.

Omar Gonzalez was sent off late on, and he will miss the decider on Saturday night as a result, but Martins is the man who deserves to be talked about, as the 29-year-old did his MVP claims no harm by setting up both Sounders goals.

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Martins had more shots than anyone on the pitch last night with five, and also completed more dribbles than anyone else on the field.

He made three key passes, and proved to be the main attacking threat once more – a significant claim when playing alongside Clint Dempsey.

Martins is undoubtedly in the running for the MVP award, and another outstanding display in the final game could be a huge factor, as Robbie Keane appears the favourite for MVP at the moment.

The Nigerian striker has scored 17 goals this season, joint-fourth most in the league, tied with Lee Nguyen (another MVP candidate), and has the joint-second highest amount of assists with 11, as only Landon Donovan has more (14).

Martins looks set to stay in Seattle for another couple of seasons as he is reportedly closing in on a contract extension, but that won’t be until after the season.

He will be crucial for the Sounders on Saturday night, and in the playoffs as well as Seattle are set to fight for their first MLS Cup win.

How important is Martins to Seattle? Does he deserve the MVP award?

Seattle leave it late again as they overcome FC Dallas

By Zack Walford

Seattle Sounders open up a five point lead at the top of the Western Conference, coming from behind to beat FC Dallas 2-1 at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night.

Kenny Cooper scored the winning goal in the 87th minute, netting against his former club to seal all three points for the Sounders, taking their tally to seven wins from ten.

Dallas took the lead in the 13th minute from the penalty spot, after Brad Evans brought down Blas Perez, following a tangle of legs.

Brazilian born Michel stepped up for Dallas and slotted home his penalty, leaving Stefan Frei marooned in the middle of the Seattle goal.

The Sounders responded well though as they tested Dallas goalkeeper, Raul Fernandez, on several occasions.

Clint Dempsey’s free kick looked to be heading in, but his effort was spectacularly saved by the Peruvian keeper.

Despite holding on and taking their 1-0 lead into halftime, FC Dallas stepped off the gas and allowed Seattle too much space in the second-half.

Former Birmingham City striker, Obafemi Martins, found space in behind the Dallas defence and was able to pick out Lamar Neagle at the near post, as he tapped home the equaliser for his fourth of the season on his 27th birthday.

The goal inspired Seattle, as the crowd became louder and sensed that there were more goals on offer as Dallas looked deflated.

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(Seattle fans are enjoying their teams performances this season)

The Sounders went close with a effort through Mexican midfielder Gonzalo Pineda in the 65th minute, again bringing a save from Fernandez.

Seattle continued to knock on the door of FC Dallas but Fernandez wasn’t letting anybody in, as he performed a superb reflex save to deny Dempsey from close range after Osvaldo Alonso’s long range effort was parried onto the post.

FC Dallas’ resistance was finally broken in the 87th minute with another dangerous, low cross from Martins finding former Dallas striker Kenny Cooper who slotted the ball home with his first touch of the game.

The goal sent Seattle fans into raptures, but there were just muted celebrations from the man who spent three years at the Toyota Stadium between 2006-2009.

There was a late chance for Dallas In the 94th minute, as captain Matt Hedgers sent his header over the bar following a cross from Dallas goalscorer Michel.

The win leaves FC Dallas in third place on 16 points, six points behind Western Conference leaders Seattle on 22.

FC Dallas will aim to bounce back away to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, whilst the Seattle Sounders travel to the Gillette Stadium to play New England Revolution on Sunday.