In preparation of Wednesday's match between Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC, Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart, the excellent SB Nation Sounders' blog, answered three questions about Seattle's early season woes, the state of the team and the upcoming match.
1) Seattle has started off incredibly slow this year. What's been the biggest reason why and what's the general mood around Sounders fans?
Continuity. Seattle lost its best defender and best attacking player in the offseason and the reload took time. During that time plenty of others got injured, there were national team calls and some poor luck. All in all the start is really poor. Seattle has used a different lineup in every match of their MLS and CCL campaigns and that will continue on Wednesday night. For the first four years this club has contended for trophies. This start to the season is not just a shock, but starting to wear thin on a significant portion of the fanbase. Panic has not started yet, but we do see it.
2) This will be the first match between Sporting KC and Seattle since the USOC final. Will revenge be on the Sounders' minds?
It will for the fans. On Sigi's conference call with reporters today he indicated that he felt the team did enough to win. This issue with that match, for all concerned, comes down to referee decisions and not quality of either teams' play. In the record books it goes down as a draw that won a Cup. A Cup that belongs back in Seattle. That starts at the end of the month. With the amount of roster churn I don't think the Sounders are going to think about that much. They are going to be more concerned about turning the current season around.
3) How will Mauro Rosales returning to the right wing affect the team?
When he plays at his full potential he's a fringe MVP candidate. The problem is that Seattle has not seen much of that until his match against Philly. If he continues to play at that level he'll be racking up the assists again while providing creativity and set-play danger. He is particularly strong in how he sees Eddie Johnson. When those two are "on" goals happen. Spectacular Heddie Johnson goals.
Lineup predictions: Gspurning; Gonzalez, Traore, Hurtado, Evans; Alonso; Martinez, Rose, Rosales; Estrada, Johnson