Chivas USA face the Seattle Sounders for the third, and final time, at least for 2014, and possibly for good, on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders recently won a real, live trophy, but they've skidded a bit lately in league play. Still, given Chivas' title as MLS' ultimate slumpbusters, the Sounders probably aren't too worried about this game. To go off the beaten path a touch, I exchanged questions once again with our old friend Dave Clark of SB Nation Sounders blog Sounder At Heart, but we didn't ask each other directly about the big talking points for our respective teams. Still, there's plenty of juicy info here, and my thanks to Dave for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Sounder At Heart:
1. Seattle recently added to their trophy case with the 2014 U.S. Open Cup title. With the current season obviously ongoing, where would you put this Open Cup-winning group in relation to the past Sounders title-winning teams?
It isn't as special as the first one, because the first one is always special. But this one definitely means more than the two won at home. That may sound odd. Here are the two reasons - the pause between trophies and the People's Cup. Seattle went two years without a trophy (surprisingly their best two playoff years). There's a hunger here and the Open Cup may not be enough to satisfy it, but it is a hell of an appetizer.
Bigger than that though was this amazing thing the team did for the traveling fans. The Sounders FO gave the fans the Cup for the rest of the week. Adrian Hanauer, the coaches, a few players, some other FO types and the 101st Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy joined about 100 fans in a bar. Stories were told, beers were shared and a Cup sat among them all. Then the Cup hung out with the fans who spent the week out on the East Coast. It traveled from Philly to New York City. It hung at the pre-match bar with traveling supporters and displaced Sounders fans. It rode the subway. It marched into the stadium.
It's the People's Cup.
2. Marco Pappa's had an eventful month, winning the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the Copa Centroamericana with Guatemala before pledging to boycott future call-ups in solidarity with his teammates over a players' rights dispute. On the club front, how would you rate his debut season to date with the Sounders?
He's amazing to watch. He does all these twists and turns, dribble moves and skill checks. You never know what he's going to do with the ball. Pappa is amazing skillful midfielder who pairs up with Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey quite well. He reads the game like they do. He's a key component to the roster and yet Marco Pappa doesn't have the goals of the very conventional players like Lamar Neagle, Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper. He doesn't have the assists. For months now it's been apparent he has the talent and the positional awareness to get goals and assists. He will get them. Marco just doesn't have them yet.
3. Is this going to be the year Seattle reaches the MLS Cup final, and do you think they can win it all?
I think Seattle is better set up to get the Supporters' Shield. That's basically down to winning a series (or even drawing) against the LA Galaxy, whereas winning MLS Cup will take beating two of the following clubs - Timbers, FCD, RSL and LA. Then facing the best of the East in a one-off. If the Sounders make the MLS Cup they will win it. It will be a 60,000ish crowd in the chill damp air. Seattle gets up for events like that. Getting to the Cup will be a struggle.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for this match?
Sounders have five goals in them.
Lineup Prediction: Frei; Gonzalez, Evans, Marshall, Yedlin; Neagle, Rose, Pappa; Dempsey, Martins
What do you think? Leave a comment below!