Chivas USA will host the Seattle Sounders in a Wednesday night match-up, and as ever, these two teams could not be going through much more distinctive paths at the moment. The Goats are precariously close to losing out the string, it feels like, while the Sounders sit atop the standings and are competing for trophies in multiple competitions. In order to get a better sense of what's happening in Seattle, we welcome back Dave Clark of SB Nation Sounders blog Sounder At Heart to answer questions. Thanks to Dave for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Sounder At Heart:
1. The Sounders are on a winning streak again. Do you see smooth sailing (pun intended?) from here on out to a Supporters' Shield?
It's going to be rough waters and the yacht may not be able to manage the journey. The good news is that they enter the stretch run with a small lead over the other five contenders. The bad news is that if they falter they cannot catch Sporting KC nor DC United. The mixed bag of the schedule is that there is a match remaining against both Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. Like an epic poem the climax of the regular season is greatly set with a home & home against the LA Galaxy to end the year. There's almost zero way those two matches don't figure into the Shield race.
Even if it is only a two team contest between Sigi and Bruce a potential six-point swing and a near certain future playoff matchup will ratchet the test to the highest level. It's two of the league's greatest coaches and greatest teams. Sounders fans will enter it with no confidence as the previous meeting was a 3-nil drubbing that could have been even worse.
2. Clint Dempsey recently admitted he's pretty tired at this point in the year. Do you expect to see a number of starters sitting against Chivas USA, or with a nine day break between games, will the first team be lining up?
There are two players that could most use a rest. Clint clearly could take a week-long break. He's been going since January with Fulham then Seattle then the USA at the World Cup then Seattle. It's been quite busy. Sitting him just makes sense. There is no easier match ahead and the stretch run is right around the corner.
Gonzalo Pineda could also sit of the regulars. He's not a player who uses his speed, but with either Rose or Evans able to slip in for Gonzo it makes sense. Leo Gonzalez could get rested too, but his direct replacement has been hurt lately and I don't think Sigi starts left mid Aaron Kovar for the first time in league play at his 2nd best position.
3. Jordan Morris is a hot topic right now following his surprise U.S. Men's National Team selection. Since he is a Sounders academy alum, you have known of him longer and probably watched him play more than just about anybody, so tell us a little about him and why he's worthy of a national team call-up before he's even turned pro.
The most important thing to know about Morris is that the reason he's not pro has nothing to do with his ability to play soccer. It has everything to do with getting into Stanford, a place one mentor told him he wasn't smart enough to go. He earned access to the West's best major university while also becoming a player that is now on the national team radar and nearly certain to go to the Olympics (he'll be a pro by then). Morris might be the best example of how youth players in America will always follow their own path rather than a simple RPG like step-level system.
Jordan is not a simple goal scorer. When with the U-18s he lead the nation in goals scored, but less frequently noted is the fact that he was also an assist man. His other forward played up a level and scored more than 20 goals as well, most of those assisted by Morris. Those assists came from cut-back passes, crosses and throughballs. Morris had just converted from a midfielder in high school (where he was the state player of the year as a junior) and had the on-ball skills that a quality youth mid is expected to have. Morris' frame isn't large and he isn't fast. He'd be slightly above MLS average in both of those, but he's really a technician whether shooting or passing. If he was on the Sounders right now he would be the 3rd forward and regularly earning playing time as a wide mid beating out Neagle, Cooper and Barrett.
Here's a lot more about Morris.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for this game?
It has to be a mutli-goal win. Chivas isn't going to score more than a goal and Sounders FC, even without three starters (Pappa is with Guatemala right now) there are plenty of goalscorers available to Sigi.
Lineup Guess: Frei; Gonzalez, Scott, Marshall, Yedlin; Neagle, Rose, Alonso, Evans; Cooper, Martins
Find my answers to Dave's questions here.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!