Season In Review: July

Season In Review: July

The team got back on track in league play and saw the return of Steve Zakuani to the lineup after a long injury lay off.

Record: 2-0-2 in MLS. 1-0-0 in the Open Cup.

Player of the Month: Osvaldo Alonso had one goal in MLS play and a goal and an assist in the Open Cup, but continued to dominate the middle of the field in a pivotal month for the Sounders.

The Matches: The Sounders opened the month with a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake – a result that would continue a trend of tightly-fought battles against RSL. They then got back in the win column with a win over the Colorado Rapids before drawing on the road with the New York Red Bulls and finishing the month with a 2-1 win against the Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Along the way, they dominated Chivas USA at Starfire with a 4-1 win in the semifinals of the US Open Cup, sending them to the final for the fourth consecutive season. They also played European champions Chelsea in a friendly, with Fredy Montero scoring twice, but the Sounders fell 4-2 in the exhibition.

The Story: A nine-game winless streak quickly turned into a five-match unbeaten run as the Sounders got themselves back on track in July.

The story of the month, though, was the return of Steve Zakuani. On July 7 against the Colorado Rapids, the same team he faced when a broken leg nearly ended his career, Zakuani subbed on late in the match after nearly 15 months of recovery from his broken leg and the Compartment Syndrome that followed.

Zakuani would see just four minutes in the match, but his ovation was one for the ages as the Sounders topped the Rapids, 2-1.

Elsewhere, Montero scored twice in the first half to keep Chelsea from running away with their friendly match, but again the story of the night was a player’s ovation, as Sounders stalwart Roger Levesque played his last match with the club in the friendly. He subbed on late in the match and got a nice reaction from the crowd of 53,309 at CenturyLink Field.

His wasn’t the only departure from the team though.

At the end of the month, the Sounders traded Alvaro Fernandez to the Chicago Fire to make room on the roster for Christian Tiffert, who came to Seattle from Kaiserslautern in Germany, where he led the Bundesliga in assists one year earlier. Fernandez had two goals and two assists in 14 matches in 2012 for the Sounders, giving him 13 goals and three assists in 55 matches over parts of three seasons with Seattle.

In their final match of the month, they also saw the return of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who joked after the match that he didn’t waste any time getting welcomed back to the field after Drew Moor scored in the third minute of the match, though Seattle would go on to win 2-1.

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