Fresh off come from behind results, both Chivas USA and the Seattle Sounders will try to avoid the late game dramatics and get off to good starts when the two teams meet Saturday evening at the StubHub Center.
Scouting Report: Seattle Sounders
Dempsey – Just when everyone said that Deuce was done, the guy goes ahead and scores five goals in two games. How's that for silencing the critics? The USMNT captain is getting more and more involved in the Seattle attack and his shift from the midfield to the frontline has given the Sounders a creative presence in the final third. Intelligent, patient, and full of experience, Dempsey's the type of player that requires extra defensive attention even when he's without the ball, allowing others to take advantage of that empty space.
Take Control of Possession in the Opponent's Half – Seattle prefers to keep the pressure on defenses and likes to play their possession on their opponent's half of the field. Their fast-paced style of play that revolves around quick passing and off-the-ball movement can overwhelm opposing defenses. There's not a lot of of individual play from this Sigi Schmid crew and more of an emphasis on advancing as a unit.
Martins – Clint Dempsey has been getting all the press for Seattle but poor Obafemi Martins is doing all the unheralded dirty work that brings Dempsey all his glory. Unlike the past where Martins was called upon to score goals and do backflips, he's been placed in more of a creative role, getting others involved with heel flicks, headers, and creating space through his low-to-the-ground physicality. He currently leads the league with four assists on the season and sure enough, three of those have been to Dempsey.
Stable, Yet Slow Center Backs - While they're two of the best center backs in the game, both with good size and experience, Chad Marshall and Djimi Traore aren't exactly fast. If Seattle plays with a high line and tries to keep teams in defensive mode, they can be vulnerable to a quick counter down the middle, especially if RB DeAndre Yedlin and DM Osvaldo Alonso have pushed too far up.
Prone to Errors – The Sounders could easily be sitting with a better record, but only have themselves to blame as they've shot themselves in the foot on a number of occasions. They're a team that's prone to individual errors and CUSA should take advantage and provide the necessary pressure to rattle the Sounders' composure.
Shots, Shots, Shots– Seattle averages a good amount of shots per game (14), but they've also conceded a good amount (16). This give and take leads to a fast paced, old-fashioned shoot-out and lends itself to entertaining football. Needless to say, Seattle has trouble holding leads but has also shown it can manage overcoming adversity, as proven by coming back from two goal deficits in their previous two games. No lead is ever safe.
Keys to the Game
New and Old Faces in the Defense- If CUSA plans on taking three points, defense will be the key. I would like see Andrew Jean-Baptiste in favor of Lochhead to deal with DeAndre Yedlin and Seattle's preference for the right side. Since Eriq Zavaleta will not be eligible to play against the team that loaned him out, this should be the return of Bobby Burling back to the starting lineup. CUSA fans must also hope that this weekend's game is the long awaited return of MindaTieri, as the Oswaldo Minda/Agustin Pelletieri duo hasn't featured together since week 2, and that only lasted 13 minutes due to Pelletieri's expulsion.
Who will step up? – Erick Torres currently has five of CUSA's seven goals this season, putting him 2nd in MLS behind Dempsey's six. It's a bit concerning that the team's two other goals came from Thomas McNamara and Bobby Burling all the way back in the season opener. There hasn't been much production from the rest of the forwards on the roster and teams are starting to close down on Cubo (he's seen a lot of grass lately).
Play High Line, High Pressure – Seattle is not the type of team you want playing around with the ball and having the time to find their shot. Their quick passes can disorganize and tire out a CUSA defense that still lacks chemistry. The Goats need to continue what they were able to accomplish in Portland and play their own brand of possession ball as well as pressure SEA into making the mistakes that have cost them in the past.
Rivero Time?- Martin Rivero's been training with the team this week and should be available for this weekend. Is it time for the pregame Argentine asado with the potential debut of four Argentines in the midfield? Ideally, the following lineup would make plenty of sense:
What do you think? Leave a comment below!