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Philadelphia Union At Seattle Sounders - Three Preview Questions With Sounder At Heart

CHESTER, PA - JUNE 27: The final score is shown on the scoreboard after the stadium opener between the Philadelphia Union and the Seattle Sounders FC at the PPL Park stadium opener on June 27, 2010 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart, SB Nation's Seattle Sounders blog, and I exchanged three questions a piece ahead of tomorrow night's Union-Sounders match. Read my responses to Dave's questions by heading to S@H. 

tBG: How have the Sounders coped with being in multiple tournaments this season? Has Sigi aptly handled the personnel situation?

S@H: Adrian Hanauer (GM/Owner) says his job is to get as much talent possible for the coach to select and use. He's clearly done that job. Having so many options has meant that Sigi can goes 8 players deep in players with more than 2 goals in all competitions (MLS, US Open Cup, CCL) and 19 players who have played in 30% or more of available minutes in the same. He's done this after losing two players for the season quite early, and the team sits in 2nd in league play, could win its CCL Group and just won their third straight US Open Cup. There is absolutely no doubts about the depth of this squad.

tBG: There was a discussion earlier this season on S@H about who should start up front. Has anyone truly cemented his place in the striker role(s) heading into the playoffs? (Secondary question: If Montero, who is his partner in crime?)

S@H: The most common pairing right now is Fredy Montero and Mike Fucito. It is a technical & speed pairing of two smaller players that is capable of creating dozens of scoring opportunities in a game. Luckily for the Union Montero is out with Yellow Card acumulation so you'll only get dimunitive, speedy Fucito (6 Goals, 3 Assists in 1230 minutes) and likely Nate Jaqua. This will shift Seattle back to a big/small style with both Fucito and a winger playing off of Jaqua's headers won, at least ideally. Jaqua's had an off season scoring only 2 goals with 6 assists in his 1263 minutes. He's much more of a passer now than scoring threat.

tBG: Seattle has been on a ridiculous run over the past 16 games. Do you think that they can keep it up heading into the playoffs with a somewhat tough schedule to finish out the regular season?

S@H: After winning the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup the schedule gets a bit lighter. The team actually only plays one game next week and doesn't need the result in their final CCL match against Monterrey. The remainder of the schedule after the Union gets even easier with the San Jose Earthquakes closing out the home season (over 50,000 seats sold) and then a road match against Chivas USA as the final tune-up to the MLS Cup Playoffs. A worst case scenario in these final four matches is probably 6 points, but I would expect 8 or more. The players and coaching staff want to keep the pressure up on the LA Galaxy so they can't rest their aging stars.

Projected lineup?

               Fucito Jaqua  

Neagle                          Friberg
Wahl           Alonso            Riley
          Parke           Hurtado

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