SEATTLE - JULY 16: Roger Levesque #24 of the Seattle Sounders FC battles Marvell Wynne #22 of the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field on July 16, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated the Rapids 4-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Wait, this again? Yeah, the unbalanced schedule giving every Western Conference team three games against every other Western team makes for a lot of games against the same squads in succession. On Saturday, the Rapids close out their season series against the Seattle Sounders, and Dave Clark from Sounder At Heart exchanged some questions once again.
His answers to my questions can be found below, while you can see my replies to his Rapids queries over on Sounder At Heart. Onto the questions...
BW: Steve Zakuani coming onto the field and trading shirts with Brian Mullan was a great moment at the end of our last match. How has he been progressing since that first appearance? Is he likely to start Saturday?
SaH: Zakuani came on as a sub against Chelsea as well. Similar to his time against the Rapids, he played at a forward spot. This year he may just be a bench forward that offers speed and decent shot. His endurance still doesn't seem up to the standards expected out on the left wing and his touch is still a bit off though developing. I expect he'll be in the 18 just because the other forward option on the bench is Sammy Ochoa.
BW: With a somewhat congested schedule for the rest of the season, do you think the Sounders can find the stuff to sneak back into the Supporters Shield race after that mid-season slump?
SaH: There's still a chance, though fairly distant. Seattle tends to play better in crowded circumstances, has a history post transfer window of earning about two points a match and is getting starting keeper Michael Gspurning back which should improve the defense a bit. The key to a second half run will be the performance of wingers Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales. If those two play to their potential Seattle is as good as any team in the league and can get 8+ wins in their last 14. Doing that in the West would challenge the Shield, or at least the top spot in the Conference. If not the Sounders are just in the Galaxy/Whitecaps space of a 3/4/5 seed and looking at must win road games in the playoffs again.
BW: There were some murmurs earlier in the month about the Sounders looking for yet another DP with Alvaro Fernandez possibly leaving. How has that progressed?
SaH: The rumored loan of Fernandez to Deportivo Cali is now rumored to have fallen through. Seattle is certainly looking at adding talent still. They are connected with Joan Verdu of Espanyol (29 year old CM) and Christian Tiffert of Kaiserslautern (30 year old CM). But if they do add one of these two or someone like them at the loss of Alvaro it would increase the strength of the center while greatly weakening the quality on the left side. Hooray for the 3 DP rule!
Thanks again to Dave Clark, head over to Sounder At Heart for more on our Saturday opponents.