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Seattle Sounders vs. Chivas USA: Three Questions

Ahead of Chivas USA's mid-week fixture at Seattle, we spoke to Dave Clark of the Sounder at Heart blog to get the Sounder's state of affairs.

Villafana, Alvarez and Torres party while some disaffected Seattle youth look on
Villafana, Alvarez and Torres party while some disaffected Seattle youth look on
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

1. When Obafemi Martins returns from injury what sort of formation do you think Sigi will throw out there? For example, a 4-4-2 Diamond with Eddie Johnson and Martins up top with Dempsey playing behind them? Where does that leave Lamar Nagle?

We think, and that's all we can do is guess since the three headed hydra is yet to see the field together, that Dempsey will play centrally in a pseudo-CAM role where he is supposed to shoot a lot.

Neagle, Evans and someday Zakuani will compete to start on the left side. Rosales probably continues to start as often as he's healthy with Alonso as a pure defensive mid again. It's a shape that will look like a diamond on TV graphics, but it won't play like a diamond. It will almost play like a 5-0-5. Linking through the midfield is going to be quite important and how the team does that will determine whether or not this star studded attack actually scores goals.

2. Tell me about the various Seattle SGs. How many are there and what, if any, overlap exists between the various groups?

Emerald City Supporters (ECS) - they have a bunch of subgroups, but all together they are the largest group in this area by far. They are responsible for the massive tifo that is becoming a signature feature in Seattle matches, almost every chant that comes across on TV (some times a call & repeat starts else where) and the March to the Match. They stand in the Brougham End (south end). The three sections of theirs in the 100 level are General Admission. ECS plans away travel for every match.

Gorilla FC (GFC) - this group focuses on channeling their passion for soccer into accomplishing social good raising money for various charities around the Sound. They stand just to the left of ECS (as you look from center circle to the goal) and generally have some two-poles in their area. Their seats are not General Admission. GFC plan away travel for Cascadia matches and usually just one or two others a year.

North End Faithful (NEF) - this group is based in the North End (no surprise I hope). Many of the rail banners and signs along the Hawk's Nest are from members of their group. They do tifo for the largest of matches.

EastSide Supporters (ESS) - originally starting as a group that watched away matches together in the Eastern suburbs they are starting to coalesce in the Hawk's Nest (on the East Side of course). They are the youngest of the official groups. They have some rail banners and work with NEF on tifo at times.

3. There’s a mistaken belief that all MLS has to do is roll a ball out in Seattle and 40,000 people show up. Do you ever feel that MLS takes the Seattle market for granted? An example being the Cascadia Cup™ brou-haha.

It's taken quite a bit to get to this point. At launch the team only thought they would get about 12,000 season tickets. Over the past five years that number has grown to 32,000 with about 4,000 or so partials (these are estimates).

They've made some mistakes (three mediocre friendlies were replaced by one major friendly and this year there was actually no friendly), but continue to learn how to deal with a fanbase that is large, diverse and consistently demanding of more participation.

For the uber-fan and supporter the Cascadia Cup dispute was a big deal, but that may only be 20% of fanbase. At some level as long as the team is slightly above average the club people will continue to turn out.
For example, the record setting attendance against the Portland Timbers was accompanied by the a slightly above average local TV rating.

Significant Absences: Dempsey, Johnson (USMNT) - Evans, Joseph, Zakuani (injured) - Gonzalez (suspended) | Obafemi Martins and Djimi Traore may be back for this match, but that is still in question. Blair Gavin may be at full fitness now.

Editors Note: Who's Left?

Projected Lineup: Gspurning; Burch, Traore, Ianni, Yedlin; Alonso; Neagle, Carrasco, Rosales; Zavaleta, Martins - I really don't have a clue as to the LM and forwards.

For our answers and more Seattle content, head on over to Sounder At Heart!