Tuesday night's hard-fought, contentious, occasionally ugly 1-0 win over San Jose in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup gave Sounders FC reason to have some hope and confidence. What they don't have is a victory in their past seven Major League Soccer matches, going back to May 9, the longest run without a win in their four-year history.
Federal Way's Rowe has started 9 times for the Revs.
Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez will be eligible to play after missing the Portland match due to a red card he received at the end of last Wednesday's loss to Sporting Kansas City, on the heels of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado's red card the previous Saturday at Montreal. The victory over San Jose was marred by a bench-clearing melee at the end of the match. Eddie Johnson precipitated the disturbance after celebrating in front of the Earthquakes' bench.
It's fair to say that the Sounders have had something of a discipline problem lately, and that's something that has to stop if they want their fortunes to change.
Left back Leo Gonzalez finally shook off a nagging quad injury and returned against San Jose, playing the entire match. He may be joined tomorrow by another injured defender, right back Adam Johansson, dogged the past few weeks by a strained hamstring.
After losing at New England their first two seasons, the Sounders broke through with a 2-1 win last October as Montero scored both goals. With Montero, who has four goals in five appearances against New England, unavailable and David Estrada sidelined by a broken foot, look for Sammy Ochoa--who started and played well against the Earthquakes--to partner with Johnson up front.
Seattle is in the middle of a grueling four-match road stretch over 11 days, playing twice in three days on the West Coast, traveling across the country to New England, then flying back to Utah for a tough assignment against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
After 10 years under Steve Nicol, the longest run with one team for any MLS coach, New England parted ways with the former Scotland and Liverpool star in the offseason and handed the reins to Jay Heaps, at 35 the league's second-youngest coach. Heaps played nine years as a defender for the Revolution, all under Nicol.
New England is mired in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 15 matches, but has played very well at home this season, winning four of seven with two draws, the only loss by to East-leading D.C. United, and has outscored the opposition 12 goals to six. The Revolution are coming off a dramatic 2-2 draw at Toronto FC on Saturday. After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, they stormed back with two goals in the final 23 minutes to steal a point, with Chris Tierney's goal in the final 30 seconds of stoppage time the equalizer.
Forward Saër Sène leads the Revolution with seven goals, scoring five of them at home. Sène, from France, signed with New England in the offseason after spending the previous three seasons with Bayern Munich's reserve team. At 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, he's very dangerous close to the goal and will present a real challenge for the Sounders' back four. Uruguayan Diego Fagundez, who was just 16 when he scored against Seattle last October, made his first start of the season at Toronto and may partner with Sène.
Gambian midfielder Sainey Nyassi, twin brother of former Sounder Sanna Nyassi, was activated this week after missing the first 15 matches with a hamstring injury and could see his first action against the Sounders. Nyassi scored last June in the Revs' 2-1 loss in Seattle.
Shalrie Joseph, from Grenada, has played in all six of New England's matches against Seattle, scoring three times. Another midfielder, Benny Feilhaber, has one assist in each of his appearances against the Sounders, and veteran keeper Matt Reis is 3-2 against Seattle, with a shutout and a 1.20 goals-against average.
Rookie midfielder Kelyn Rowe, a 20-year-old from Federal Way, has made significant contributions for New England. Rowe, who played alongside Sounders rookie Andy Rose at UCLA, has two goals and an assist in nine starts for the Revolution.
After home-and-home series the past three seasons, this is the only regular-season match between the teams.