After what seems like forever, the Orange County Blues are back in action on Saturday with a game against Seattle Sounders 2, one of the few teams to have beaten them so far this season. This time, the game's in Irvine, and the Blues will be looking to avenge their loss in the teams' first-ever meeting. To get us ready for the game, we welcome back our old friend Dave Clark of Sounder At Heart to fill us in on S2 since last the teams met. Thanks, as always, to Dave for answering my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Sounder At Heart:
1. Sounders 2 are currently leading the West, and look like they're for real in their debut season. How have they been doing since they last met the OC Blues?
S2 really struggle on the road. They did finally win a road game (2-0 over T2), but it's not like that one result overrides their defensive issues. Only Arizona is currently in the Playoffs while giving up more goals. It's a problem with a few causes. Amadou Sanyang has been injured so the defensive midfield is empty (other CMs are mostly b2b or CAM types). They also lack depth at fullback, so much so that an Academy CB played at right back. Aaron Long is also often at full back, and he doesn't have the mobility to defend well out there. Long is CDM/CB type, so that's not surprising.
2. S2 played 120 minutes on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup, although they did end up notching a victory in the end. Any concerns about tired legs against the Blues? It seemed like many of the participants midweek aren't regular contributors in USL.
The first team held several of their loanees out of the Open Cup matches. Solid contributors like Jimmy Ockford (CB/RB), Darwin Jones (F/LW) and Aaron Kovar (LM) did not participate at all in the Open Cup and could/should see time in USL play. There are some questions regarding Kovar, since he was in the 18 for the midweek MLS match. They also didn't use their starting keeper with a U-18 getting the start in the Cup competition. It looks like they managed the squad rotation correctly. They were the only MLS-owned side that advanced and they have rested legs on some of their most talented players.
3. If there's been any drawbacks so far, Seattle has had some troubles on the road. After beating Timbers 2 in the last road game, however, are those issues behind S2?
Nope. For whatever reason the defense gets a touch worse and the offense isn't potent when this team travels. Some of it may be because the team is so young. Only one player with more than one appearance is over the age of 23 (Sam Garza). Five players with more than 100 minutes are under the age of 20. Only one of those is an Academy player. It wouldn't be a surprise that a young side struggles on the road. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal all heavily use the Academy players on their 2s and all also struggle on the road. This is probably a trend. In fact no 2 has won two matches on the road.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!