Sounders further strengthen with signing of young Brazilian attacker

The Seattle Sounders moved to the top of the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings after back-to-back wins in Week 13 and the supporters have another reason to cheer following the announcement the club have signed 22-year-old Brazilian playmaker Thomás Jaguaribe Bedinelli – known simply as Thomás.

Seattle have acquired Thomás from Brazilian club Flamengo and he is available for selection immediately.

He joins as a Discovery Signing and Seattle’s Sporting Director Chris Henderson has revealed the Western Conference side have been tracking the young attacking midfielder for a number of years.

Thomás is a player we’ve been tracking for the past three years, and it’s rewarding to finally be able to welcome him to Sounders FC. His technical and attacking abilities are impressive, and he’ll mesh well with our current roster as we move into the second half of the 2015 season.”

Thomás is best in behind the strikers but can also play out wide and will give the Sounders another attacking option to feed star strikers Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.

The youngster has spent the last two seasons on loan at Italian side Siena and most recently Brazilian outfit Ponta Preta but will now hope to become a star in MLS with one of the most attacking teams in the league.

How good a signing is Thomás for the Seattle Sounders? 

 

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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?

Tottenham confirm that DeAndre Yedlin will join squad in January

DeAndre Yedlin will be joining Tottenham Hotspur in January, the club have confirmed.

The lightning fast USMNT right-back was signed by Spurs in the summer but was allowed to remain in MLS with the Seattle Sounders for at least the remainder of the 2014 campaign.

He did just that, winning the US Open Cup and MLS Supporters’ Shield with the Sounders before losing in the Western Conference final to eventual MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy.

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Yedlin made a real impression at the World Cup in Brazil in the summer and his performances there attracted interest from a host of European clubs, but it was Tottenham who won the race to sign him.

The 21-year-old will join up with Mauricio Pochettino and the Argentine head coach is excellent at working with youngsters, something that should see Yedlin progress as a player.

“DeAndre is a young player with great potential who has already achieved a lot in Major League Soccer,” Pochettino said.

“It is important for his development that he is given the time to adapt to his new surroundings both on and off the pitch and we believe that by coming to us in January it will give him the best opportunity to do so.”

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Spurs legend and USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann has played Yedlin at right midfield in recent national games and that is a position he could play for Tottenham, as well as in his natural right-back role.

Pochettino’s comments suggest Yedlin will be eased into the side and will be a squad player for the remainder of the 2014-15 campaign for the Lilywhites.

But with so much potential, it’s important Yedlin joins up with his new side now and he will hope to enjoy plenty of success in England with Tottenham now.

How good will DeAndre Yedlin be for Tottenham?

Stats: Donovan & Keane vs Martins & Dempsey – Who will come out on top?

The first-leg of the Western Conference Final gets underway on Sunday night as Seattle Sounders travel to LA Galaxy in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.

The two sides met twice at the end of the regular in a dramatic climax to for the MLS Supporters’ Shield, with Seattle coming out on top, but a place in the MLS Cup is at stake this time.

Robbie Keane‘s absence may have cost the Galaxy the Supporters Shield but he will be in the team when LA welcome Seattle this weekend, and will hope his lethal partnership with Landon Donovan can once again lead their side to victory.

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The pair have scored 33 goals between them this season – accounting for 45% of the Galaxy’s goals in the regular season and playoffs. They will look to carry the form from the 5-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake in the last round into this game.

Donovan scored a hat-trick in another memorable performance and his hopes of lifting a sixth MLS Cup before retirement are still alive.

Don’t Miss: Playoff Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders

Seattle have just as dangerous a partnership themselves in Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. The dynamic duo have scored 32 of the club’s 66 goals in the regular season and playoffs – accounting for 49%.

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The Sounders are hoping to become the first MLS side to win the treble by lifting the MLS Cup, following their successes in the US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2014.

Dempsey and Martins are integral to that and need to make sure they give Seattle something to take away from Los Angeles in the first-leg.

Donovan and Keane vs Dempsey and Martins Stats

Stats: Donovan & Keane Vs Dempsey & Martins – including playoffs. Statistics via Squawka.

The table above shows that Donovan and Keane are more of a threat together as the pair contributed to more goals and created more chances than the Seattle duo.

But Dempsey and Martins have recorded more shots and aren’t too far off the Galaxy pair.

It should be another intriguing battle between the sides, and one that will hopefully live long in the memory as an MLS Playoffs classic.

Landon Donovan could yet again be playing in his final home game in MLS, but Galaxy fans will hope by Keane playing against the Sounders this time as well that they will have enough to win the first-leg.

Who will come out on top on Sunday – Donovan & Keane or Dempsey & Martins?

 

DeAndre Yedlin set to complete Spurs switch in January – report

Seattle Sounders right-back DeAndre Yedlin is expected to complete his awaited move to Tottenham Hotspur in January, as his EU passport should arrive in the next two weeks.

Yedlin will receive his Latvian passport in the next fortnight, according to a report in the Daily Mirror, which he qualifies for as his grandmother was Latvian and he should then be free to move to England in time for the new year.

The 21-year-old has had an incredible year for club and country as he shone at the World Cup with the USMNT and is chasing an MLS-record treble with the Sounders as they look to claim the MLS Cup in the next month.

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Spurs announced the capture of Yedlin in August but despite the lack of clarity as to when he would officially join up with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side, it now appears to be clear that he will make the move in January.

That will give the pacey fullback a short rest after the current MLS season but he will need to adapt to the Premier League quickly as his move will seemingly spell the end for Kyle Naughton at White Hart Lane.

Naughton has struggled to prove his quality to the Spurs faithful and although he is a solid option, Yedlin will be expected to replace him when he completes his move.

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First-choice right-back Kyle Walker has been out of action for a long time as he struggles to recover from a pelvic injury so Yedlin’s move is something Spurs need.

The USMNT star looks set for a bright future and Pochettino will look to continue his excellent track record of improving emerging stars of the game, but it may be best to give the youngster a few months to adapt.

Naughton can continue to do a job for Spurs until the end of the season, and Yedlin will only benefit from being eased into life in the Premier League for a few months, especially after such an intense season.

Will DeAndre Yedlin be a star for Tottenham Hotspur?

Premier League trio set to battle for Clint Dempsey loan deal

Three Premier League clubs are reportedly interested in bringing Seattle Sounders attacker Clint Dempsey back to England for a short-term loan deal.

The 31-year-old joined Fulham for a couple of months in the MLS offseason last year, and could be set for a similar move this year, with Aston Villa, Stoke and Queens Park Rangers all keen, according to the Daily Mirror.

Dempsey has been excellent for the Sounders this season, scoring 15 goals and adding 10 assists to help the side finish as the best side through the regular season.

Seattle lifted the MLS Supporters’ Shield for the first time in their history on Saturday night, and will need Dempsey to help them if they are to clinch the MLS Cup too.

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The USMNT star could then return to England after Christmas for a short spell in the Premier League, and his options would appear to be open.

He has American teammates at both Aston Villa and Stoke City, so may look there, but he could also return to London with QPR, to try and help Harry Redknapp’s side avoid relegation.

The former Spurs forward has had a long season, and alternatively may decide to have a rest ahead of the 2015 MLS season.

Should Dempsey return to the Premier League once again – or does he need to rest?

Player ratings: Seattle Sounders 2-0 LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders clinched their first ever Supporters’ Shield with a gutsy 2-0 victory over Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field.

They battled through a fiery opening 30 minutes, with possession largely dominated by the Galaxy.

Pure grit, determination and passion got them through those early stages and their tactics were spot on as a frustrated LA couldn’t find a way through.

When chances came their way late on, they made the most of it and in the end they probably deserved the victory.

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[Seattle Sounders had already tasted glory this season when they won the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup]

Seattle Sounders:

  • Stefan Frei (Goalkeeper) – 7/10 – Despite LA’s early dominance of possession, they didn’t create much which left Frei with little to do. The one occasion he was called upon came when Landon Donovan tried to latch on to a through ball but Frei did well to close the angle down and leave Donovan with no time to think.
  • DeAndre Yedlin (Defender) – 7/10 – He was reliable and solid for the most part but did look susceptible at times on the outside flank. His work-rate was excellent.
  • Chad Marshall (Defender) – 8/10 – He was influential at the back and was the glue that kept the Sounders unit tied together. He won everything in the air and was tidy on the ground with great passing accuracy. (80% according to whoscored.com)
  • Zach Scott (Defender) – 7/10 – A faultless performance at the heart of defence. His partnership with Marshall played a crucial role in keeping a clean sheet.
  • Leonardo Gonzalez (Defender) – 7/10 – The Sounders full-backs had to be alert and aware of the threat LA posed from out wide as they looked to expose the flanks but Gonzalez was more than wise to those kind of tactics.
  • Brad Evans (Midfielder) – 6/10 – You can’t be too critical of the Sounders defence as they stuck to their task so well but his poor passing accuracy of 56% (according to whoscored.com) makes it hard to award higher than a 6.
  • Osvaldo Alonso (Midfielder) – 8/10 – He was instrumental in the execution of the game plan. He was consistently good with his passing throughout and wasn’t wasteful in possession in the same way that some of the Sounders players were.
  • Gonzalo Pineda (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He played with aggression, fight and determination. He was perhaps guilty of letting it spiral out of control at times but he was a terrier in the middle of the park and consistently hounded the Galaxy midfield when they were in possession.
  • Lamar Neagle (Midfielder) – 6/10 – He stuck to his defensive duties well but struggled to find teammates with his passing, particularly in the first half.
  • Clint Dempsey (Forward) – 7/10 – He wouldn’t let the LA defence relax and he was a nuisance to deal with in the second half.
  • Obafemi Martins (Forward) – 8/10 – He’s hunting down the MVP award and he certainly didn’t harm his chances here. He was strong and confident and played the crucial killer pass in to Marco Pappa for the first goal that took all the wind out of LA Galaxy’s sails.
  • Marco Pappa (Forward) – 9/10 – Man of the match and he was only on the pitch for 20 minutes. He made the difference with a composed finish for the first goal. And with seconds remaining on the clock, his never say die attitude saw him hound the Galaxy ‘keeper, Jaime Penedo, steal the ball and scoop it into the net for the second.
  • Djimi Traore (Defender) – 6/10 – He was on the pitch for all of 30 seconds so had no chance of making an impact.

LA Galaxy:

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  • Jaime Penedo (Goalkeeper) – 5/10 – He made a shocking error for the second goal. He didn’t have a terrible game beforehand but allowing an opposing player to dispossess you when you play in goal is unacceptable. He certainly won’t want to see it again.
  • Dan Gargan (Defender) – 6/10 – He linked up well with the Galaxy midfield but his positioning was questionable for the first goal and he’ll be disappointed that he wasn’t able to do more in order to prevent Marco Pappa.
  • Leonardo (Defender) – 6/10 – The Galaxy back line had relatively little to do throughout this game in terms of defensive work, so to concede two goals is disappointing for the centre-backs.
  • A. J. DeLaGarza (Defender) – 6/10 – He will be disappointed with how open they left themselves for the first goal with the game so delicately poised at 0-0.
  • Robbie Rogers (Defender) – 7/10 – One of the better performers on the day for LA Galaxy. He put in a real shift but to no avail.
  • Baggio Husidic (Midfielder) – 6/10 – He was reliable on the ball but struggled to make an impact from the wide areas.
  • Juninho (Midfielder) – 7/10 – The midfield maestro was strong in possession and shifted the ball about nicely but it wasn’t enough to carve an opening through the solid Sounders defence.
  • Marcelo Sarvas (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He battled well and his passing was brilliant. He didn’t shy away from challenges and provided great support for fellow midfielder, Juninho.
  • Stefan Ishizaki (Midfielder) – 6/10 – LA would have hoped for more from the Swede. His passing was disappointing for a position normally associated with accuracy. (70% accuracy according to whoscored.com)
  • Gyasi Zardes (Forward) – 6/10 – He made good runs in behind and worked tirelessly to create an opening but it wasn’t a good day to be playing up front for LA Galaxy with such limited opportunities.
  • Landon Donovan (Forward) – 6/10 – The club legend almost appeared to be trying too hard to make something happen for his side. You can’t fault his work-rate and effort, but it just didn’t come off for him in his final regular season game.
  • Alan Gordon (Forward) – 5/10 – LA Galaxy’s best chance of the game fell to his feet late on but it’s fair to say that he somewhat fluffed his lines.
  • Jose Villarreal (Forward) – 6/10 – He only entered the field of play for the last few minutes of the game so he couldn’t impose himself on the game.

Attentions will now turn to the playoffs for these two sides and there is a strong possibility that they could meet each other again in the Western Conference finals.

Which team will go further in the MLS Playoffs, Seattle Sounders or LA Galaxy?

Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy will go head-to-head in arguably the most crucial game of the season at CenturyLink Field on Saturday as both teams fight to become the Supporters’ Shield winners.

Soccer games do not come bigger than this as these two Western Conference sides are the only teams that can now win the Supporters’ Shield title.

The formula is simple – LA Galaxy absolutely have to win the game in order to clinch it, whereas a draw would be enough for Seattle due to their superior ‘games won’ tally giving the Sounders the most slightest of advantages going in to it.

As it stands going in to the final game:

AS IT STANDS

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Seattle Sounders come in to this game on the back of an inconsistent run of form with just two wins from their last six games so they will need to try and give it one final push to ensure they don’t fall at the final hurdle.

They have failed to beat LA Galaxy in their last six regular season meetings, so they will be relieved that they aren’t the team that has to win this game – their last win against the Galaxy was a resounding 4-0 success back in August 2012.

Seattle Sounders home form: Played 16 – Won 11 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Before a narrow defeat to FC Dallas and a thrilling draw with Seattle, LA Galaxy have been almost unstoppable, winning eight of the previous ten games and they’ve lost just three in their last 25 matches – an impressive record.

They were on the verge of a priceless victory on Sunday night when they led Seattle 2-0, so they will be devastated that they threw the game away but they have it in them to recover quickly and go again.

Inconsistency away from home would be the only concern for LA as five of their six defeats this season have come in games away from the StubHub Center.

Having said that, they convincingly brushed Seattle aside the last time they visited CenturyLink field in July and ran out 3-0 winners, so they will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Should LA Galaxy be victorious, they will become the most successful side in the history of the Supporters’ Shield with five titles – they are currently tied with DC United on four.

LA Galaxy’s away form: Played 16 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5

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It’s the biggest game of the regular season, it promises to be exciting and it’s unlikely to disappoint.

We can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The Nigerian is in the running for the MVP award for his efforts this season and if he performs to the best of his ability, he could drag Seattle over the finish line.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have both the best attack (69 scored) and best defence in the league (35 conceded) so they will be hoping that counts for something come the end of the season. 

Seattle Sounders last five: L/W/W/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Prediction: Seattle Sounders 1 – 2 LA Galaxy

Pass master: This Seattle star has the best record in MLS

Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso leads the league in passing accuracy, and the 28-year-old has delivered on his designated player tag by being the best on the ball this season.

The tough-tackling Cuban has completed an impressive 91.1% of his passes this season, according to WhoScored.com, and that number is the best in Major League Soccer, with LA Galaxy’s Juninho his closest rival with 89.6% pass accuracy.

Alonso’s accuracy is made even more impressive by the fact that he has completed the second-highest number of passes per game on average this season.

He has made 66.6 passes per game, an amount only bettered by Columbus Crew midfielder Will Trapp, who has made an average of 67.4.

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The Sounders have enjoyed a very good season so far, and they will be looking to clinch the Supporters Shield when they face LA Galaxy once again on Saturday night.

Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins take most of the plaudits for their impressive displays in the final third, but Alonso’s consistency has allowed those players to go about their business on a weekly basis.

Alonso will need to stay as solid with the ball if the Sounders are to have a chance at winning their first MLS Cup, and they are expected to go far in the playoffs after an exciting season so far.

How important is Osvaldo Alonso to the Seattle Sounders? And how far can they go in the Playoffs?

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?