Seattle is in town for the first of back-to-back home games against Cascadia opponents. The Sounders made the long cross-country flight after playing (and winning) a midweek game at home. To get us up to speed on the Rave Green, I had a brief chat with Mark Kastner at fellow SB Nation site Sounder at Heart. You can see my answers to his questions on their site.
Given the fixture congestion, long travel and East vs West matchup, how should we expect the Sounders to approach this game? Pack it in and play for a point? Or throw caution to the wind?
I think the Sounders will roll out a pretty strong lineup, I’m guessing. They’re about to lose up to 11 players for different international call-ups, so I’m imagining Brian Schmetzer isn’t too keen on rotating right now. You could see 1 or 2 changes from their Wednesday lineup, but that’s about it.
As a Union fan, it’s hard not to be reminded every time Seattle comes to town of the U.S. Open Cup final in 2014. Does this work the other way around? Do Sounders fans think of playing in Chester fondly because it’s a place where they’ve won a trophy before?
I think that’s actually the only Sounders win in Philly! They certainly haven’t won there since the Open Cup victory. The Union-Sounders matches are always strange and produce some really weird moments. So, at least for me, I’m never looking forward to them.
How has Jordan Morris been this season since returning from his season-long injury and how does him being out for the game change the Sounders approach and chances of getting points? Who is the next man up to replace him?
Morris has been up and down this season, but his involvement in the lineup is very important. He doesn’t play like a traditional right winger, and his pace allows the Sounders to keep defenses stretched. He’ll certainly be missed tonight against Philly, but Handwalla Bwana is an adequate replacement.
Roldan’s golazo potential is obviously a concern, but who are some of the other danger men/difference men the Union need to watch out for from the Sounders?
This Nicolas Lodeiro guy is quite good. He currently leads the league in assists and has the ability to unlock a defense at any time. His favorite person to pass the ball to is Raul Ruidiaz, the Peruvian DP striker Seattle brought in to save their season last year. He’s really, really good. He finds and creates space inside the box that defenders really need to keep an eye on.
The Sounders are very left-side dominate in attack. Brad Smith, left back, has usage rates higher than most team’s #10. Teams that have shut down the Sounders attack on the left have found a lot of joy.
Are there other injuries that will have an impact on the starting XI for the Sounders? Projected starting lineup?
Gustav Svensson, Chad Marshall, Victor Rodriguez, and Jordan Morris are out of this match. That’s 3 TAM players and the best defender in MLS history, for perspective. I think the Sounders will lineup like this (L-R) Frei; Smith, Kee-hee, Torres, Leerdam; Delem, Roldan; Shipp, Lodeiro, Bwana; Ruidiaz. You could see Nouhou start for Smith and Will Bruin start for Ruidiaz, but that’s it for changes.