Chivas USA end their mini-bye with a trip up to Washington to take on the Seattle Sounders Sunday, the second meeting between the clubs this season. The first meeting, Mario de Luna scored the worst own goal I've ever seen, and Obafemi Martins picked up a red card that was subsequently overturned. Will there be such fireworks this time around? Who knows, although it would be nice if Chivas didn't just gift-wrap three points for their opponents in this one. Baby steps.
In order to get a sense of what's happening lately with the Sounders, I spoke once again with Dave Clark of SB Nation Seattle Sounders blog Sounder At Heart. Thanks to Dave once again for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Sounder At Heart:
1. Early on, Seattle's problem was that they were injured and players were getting called up all the time. Now, Seattle's problem is that they are injured and players are called up. Have you noticed changes in the attitude and/or form of the team despite the ongoing problems?
The inconsistency of lineup has started to frustrate Sigi a little bit. The biggest problem facing the Sounders is finishing and then probably creation. His wing based play was destroyed when Steve Zakuani got injured, Alex Caskey got injured, Mario Martinez was called up and then gave up (kind a) and Mauro Rosales is aging. The forwards feature two great players (Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson) that never play together with a third who works really hard and is a starting quality MLS guy, but not capable of the greatness the other two are (people at SaH will hate that I say this).
But the inconsistent lineups have hurt things like defensive assignments on set-plays and the more free flowing attack that Seattle would like to have. Every week the finger points at someone else. There isn't a simple solution. Even if the Sounders had a DP slot open they couldn't just sign Player X and get better, because Player X would have to be able to play everywhere.
2. So with all the formation juggling, who has emerged to take advantage of playing time?
The most recent success story is Servando Carrasco. More famous as "Alex Morgan's boyfriend" he's turned into a good destroyer and decent passer. Carrasco is the odd player who passes better over long distances than middle range. He also has a good direct kick that should see more time as Seattle's kick taking situation is still transitioning to the post-Montero world. When he plays alongside Osvaldo Alonso (as expected Sunday) Seattle runs a double pivot from the bucket 4-4-2. Both will get forward either to act as a conduit to switch angle of attack or slam a shot in from distance.
3. There's plenty of time left in the season, of course, but are Sounders fans starting to use the P-word (panic) regarding this campaign?
I want to say no, but yes. While #FireSigi and #SigiOut aren't common at Sounder At Heart yet they are picking up steam. It would be odd to blame him for Michael Gspurning's high wrist sprain, or Zakuani's sports hernia, or Oba's bruised calf, or Shalrie Joseph's continual calf issues but people here expect more than average MLS soccer. The bar is high enough that being an decent side that just misses or just makes the MLS Cup Playoffs is a failure. That's a bar that only Bruce Arena may be able to pass, but that's the bar here. The forty thousand crowd results in a bit of entitlement. The success from day one adds more. A fan base young to MLS sometimes fails to understand that what the Sounders have done is impressive both on and off the field. Panic is setting in and it won't go away until Seattle is a Playoff lock.
4. Prediction for this match?
Three-one open and flowing, this should be a fun match to watch. Seattle has enough weaknesses that Chivas USA can score, but they also have a lineup that is approaching full health so the goals will come.
If you are interested, you can find my answers to Dave's questions here.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!