It looks more and more likely that Mario Martinez is not only fit to play tonight against Montreal, but also get the start — most likely on the right flank.
The day is finally upon us — the start of the 2013 MLS campaign, and in turn the start of Seattle Sounders FC quest for an MLS Cup.
Before kick-off at 7:30 p.m., here’s a few last minute notes, changes in projected XI and more to get you ready for the “BoomBoom”
Tonight’s referee is none other than 2012 MLS Referee of the Year, Silviu Petrescu. He’s joined by by SAR: Darren Clark; JAR: Kevin Duliba; and 4th: Alejandro Mariscal. Petrescu’s MLS record is — 58 games; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 7. Petrescu is the perfect referee to have in a season opener, and will keep the game under control in what is usually a sloppy environment to start a season.
READ YESTERDAY’S FULL PREVIEW
The Impact are reporting no injuries — and do not have to due to a new MLS rule which I hate. The Sounders on the other hand have confirmed center back’s Patrick Ianni and Adrew Duran as OUT, and right back Adam Johansson and midfielder Shalrie Joseph as QUESTIONABLE. Due to this status on Johansson, I’m thinking the game-time decision mark that manager Sigi Schmid put on him probably means out for tonight. Also not listed as injured is Honduran attacker Mario Martinez, who after suffering an ankle knock in practice earlier this week, took part in training the last two sessions before the match — so he’s back in my starting XI. It’s also looking more unlikely that new center back Djimi Traore gets the start as he’s still trying to get to full match fitness.
As far as suspensions go, Ozzie Alonso is out ofter receiving the second yellow card following last season’s MLS Cup Playoff loss against the LA Galaxy for dissent, while left back Marc Burch is also still suspended from his anti-gay slur used at the end of last season as well.
Finally in other news, today is the deadline to buy out Christian Tiffert’s contract due to MLS rules. There is some speculation that Tiffert has already been bought out and is returning home to Germany, but the club is waiting until the final hour to announce this (the same as they did with Blaise Nkufo two season ago before the LA match to open the season). The only reason the team may not buy him out now, is the hold up in Spain with new DP target Obafemi Martins who’s deal is now on hold until Monday (Via Sounderatheart.com). It is still very highly unlikely that Tiffert is on the roster come 7:30 tonight as he’s probably already taken the money and run. That money by the way, $1.5 million according to Tiffert who said the Sounders tried to offer him less then the full amount due on his two remaining years.
With the injury report out and suspensions taken into account, here’s my new projected starting XI for tonight against Montreal Impact —
GK – Michael Gspurning
CB – Zach Scott CB – Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
RB – DeAndre Yedlin LB – Leo Gonzalez
CDM – Andy Rose
RM – Mario Martinez LM – Steve Zakuani
CAM – Brad Evans
FW – Johnson FW – Mauro Rosales
BENCH USED — David Estrada (Martinez), Lamar Neagle (Zakuani)
For those not headed down to Royal Brougham Stadium for this one, you can watch the match on KING 5 or listen to the radio simulcast on 97.3 FM. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller will be back on the call for their second season with the team, but let me know when one of them leaves, because that’s my dream job, OK?