Jeremiah Oshan of the SB Nation Seattle Sounders blog Sounder at Heart joins me today to chat about the Philadelphia Union's home game against the Sounders.
Jeremiah: Wait, are we on the radio? This is not how I remember radio working.
Scott: It's so I don't forget it later, shush. all of us are organizational geniuses, Jeremiah. A question that has to be asked is: how will the rain affect Seattle's style of play?
Jeremiah: i would venture to say that no team in the league has more experience playing in the rain than the Sounders. Honestly, I'm not sure it will affect them much at all. I suppose playing on grass is definitely different than turf, but I don't imagine they'll be making any big adjustments
Scott: My thought is that it might force the game towards the center, taking Zakuani out of the game somewhat. That would give the Union a better chance at gaining a foothold.
Jeremiah: I would be shocked if the Sounders willingly allowed the game to be moved away from Zakuani. I would also imagine that the middle of the field is the sloppier part, so you probably want to keep the ball wide when possible
Scott: There are certain portions of the PPL pitch that consist of sand. Wish I knew exactly where so that I can tell you which parts would suffer greatly. The offseason wasn't a favorable one to PPL Park. There's a decent amount of green paint sprayed sand supporting sections of the field that suffered from the winter/early spring. If the Union want to keep the Sounders from running away with the game, then they have to attempt to shift the game away from Zakuani in the very least. In the past, there has been a tendency for him to sometimes allow himself to be taken out of games when the action isn't going toward him, but he's shown much more willingness to make himself available. Shutting him down is not as easy as "forcing the action into the middle." He's going to get the ball; I think the real issue is how the Union match up with him. Sheanon Williams seems like he's a decent match up
Scott: Williams will make it interesting, very interesting. He's fast and can attack pretty well. He's even improved his distribution on the attack. If he can keep Zakuani under wraps - that's not to say he has to shut him down - then the Union have a better chance.
Jeremiah: Let me ask you this: one of the big debates we've been having at S@H is how much you can project a team based on shot-difference. Is there a lot of concern over how badly the Union have fared in that department?
Scott: When you have Carlos Ruiz, Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney, there is a huge concern. Then when you hear that the Union have received more cards (11) than shots on goal (10), it's even more concerning. Juan Agudelo seemingly outshot the Union by himself last week.
Jeremiah: yet, you have them ranked as your second best team. Where's the confidence come from?
Scott: Mondragon and his four defenders. This defense has bent but not broken, as Sigi said this week.
Jeremiah: But is a bend-not-break defense the way you win titles if you don't score? How far can a defense realistically bend?
Scott: Something has to give here: either the offense is really this bad or it's going to explode. A team can't have the offensive talent that this team has and not score.
Jeremiah: so what's the problem been?
Scott: It's a combination of formation/tactics, an early injury to Le Toux's ankle and Ruiz's effect on the offensive chemistry.
Jeremiah: You really seem down on Ruiz, was that signing a mistake?
Scott:It's not a mistake unless it hurts Mwanga's development. That's my main problem with Ruiz's playing time. It seems as though Nowak is playing Ruiz instead of Mwanga, as Mwanga has come on for Ruiz as a sub previously. The most important portions of this team are its youth. Amobi Okugo, Mwanga, Roger Torres and McInerney are not only the future of this team, but also its current day energy. Not giving them playing time hurts the team now and in the future. To me, Nowak needs to look to what Sigi has done with Montero. He has the utmost faith in the young Colombian.
Jeremiah: Speaking of which, I'm betting Fredy Montero is on the bench tomorrow, but probably won't start
Scott:I know he traveled with the team, but I don't understand why he'd be risked right now. I wouldn't play him with the cast, so quickly.
Jeremiah: I think they're only going to play him if they need a late goal. Last time they did this, he turned in one of the best goals of his career. Awesome stuff last year at the New York Red Bulls.
Scott:This one? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COh1Uw__Bkw
Jeremiah: That would be it.
Scott: Beauty. Understandable if he's used like that.
Jeremiah: So, how bad is this rain supposed to be anyway? News of the Sons of Ben cancelling their tailgate got quite a chuckle out of the folks here.
Scott: They canceled it for safety reasons. It's a lot of set up work for the tail gate to happen. Booths, grills, etc. Plus it's right next to a river.
Jeremiah: Booths? You have booths? Like at a carnival?
Scott: For people like Bark Tees, who sell shirts - not carnival booths.
Jeremiah: oh man, i was imagining a whole arcade and stuff: guess your weight, milk bottle toss, speed pitch, kissing booth and all. That would be awesome
Scott: No, no. We had a few of those for the 'Stache Bash that tBG helped to put together for charity. What's your prediction for the game, before we forget to do it.
Jeremiah: I think i said 1-1 in my SBN preview piece and I'll stick with that. You?
Scott: I'm thinking the same
Jeremiah: although, if the last road game is any indication, that's not because the sounders will just settle for a tie
Scott: I feel safe in saying that this game is going to end in a tie. It's too bad that Montero won't play a full 90. Would have been nice to see how the defense dealt with an in-form striker of his caliber.
Jeremiah: yeah, well, you'll get to see Mauro Rosales, who is a different type of player, but is entertaining. We weren't sure what to expect with him, but he's been much better than almost anyone expected.
Scott: Is it disappointing that The Trialist is no longer The Trialist? It was quite a bit of entertainment for anyone who follows MLS online.
Jeremiah: i suppose it is. A lot of us were disappointed that Mauro didn't pick that as his twitter handle @mdr7 just doesn't have the same ring.
Scott: I hope Seattle let him know.
Jeremiah: yeah, we said we refused to cheer for him until he either helped us score or changed his name ... he's had assists in the last two games, though so we lost our negotiating tool
Scott: Meh. He'll switch to it one day as a joke.
Jeremiah: that would be awesome. I'm going to have to interview him and find out how aware of that he was. You know, we get to interview players over at Sounder at Heart?
Scott: Yes, yes I do. Remember failing to tell me about having to follow Zakuani on the podcast?
Jeremiah: i do remember that. You did fine though
Scott: I have a back log of something like 7 interviews with former players to do profiles on, starting this week. Wait until I do that. I'll be a champion
Jeremiah: anything else i can tell you about the mighty, might sounders?
Scott: What is this, day camp? "So we tell them..." I see my jokes are falling flat today.
Jeremiah: I do not get that.
Scott: It sounds like one of those dumb kid chants/songs. It was on a Frosted Flakes commercial at one point too. Everywhere we gooooo, people wanna knowww, so we tell them... We're the __, the mighty, mighty __.
Jeremiah: Ah, yes, I'm a bit farther removed from that stage of my life than you.
Scott: Twitter now knows that you just learned a song. I think every single one of these chats that I attempt to do automatic devolves into madness.
Jeremiah: 2 4 6 8, who do I appreciate?
Scott: Great. That's where I wanted all of this to go to, yeah...