Dave Clark, of SB Nation's Seattle Sounder blog Sounder at Heart, and I exchanged three questions a piece (plus some bonuses at the end) ahead of tomorrow's Philadelphia Union-Sounders match at PPL Park.
SK: With the injuries and transfers off the team (like Blaise Nfuko), how have the Sounders found offensive rhythm so far this season?
DC: Seattle doesn't really have an offensive rythm at this time. When Montero is on the pitch 98% of plays will go through he or Steve Zakuani. But the injuries have made that moot and so Seattle's offense is more diverse than it used to be. It can attack through the right wing by either Mauro Rosales or Erik Friberg offering service into O'Brian White as the target man, or darting in themselves to put a low cross into the 6.
In the long run this is going to be good for Seattle because it is forcing them to learn other methods of attack besides give the ball to Freddy Montero and wait for amazing. This is increasing both off-ball initial runs, as well as stronger secondary runs by Brad Evans and others that drift into the second layer at times.
SK: When does Kasey Keller truly show his age? Has he lost anything physically this season?
DC: Keller doesn't have quite the spring that he did in the past. He's still good, but his shot stopping is merely league average. He's getting by now through immense experience and doing alright with it.
One strength of Keller's that is often overlooked is his distribution and backline leadership. He puts the ball back in play rather quickly, and rarely goes for a 50/50 punt when he can throw it out with greater accuracy and potency. His leading the backline has been vital due to the multiple pairings that have occurred at centerback and will continue throughout the year.
SK: Is Fredy Montero going to be a factor if he plays in his cast?
DC: This weekend I expect him to be the third sub at most. Seattle has other offensive options on offense, and though Montero will be in Philly there is likely some chess playing going on with whether he starts/not, and plays/not. Sigi is forcing Nowak to think.
Expected line up?
L to R in 4-1-3-1-1
D: Leo, Hurtado, Parke, Riley
M: Zakuani, Alonso (CDM), Evans, Friberg
F: Rosales, White (Target)
Bonus: What does real grass potentially mean for the Sounders?
There are two topics I hate in Sounders fandom. The need for grass (there isn't any) and the need for a SSS (there is even less for this).