Hey, remember the Rapids? They're playing a game this weekend! It's a toughie as well, with the red-hot Seattle Sounders coming into town for the third and final match-up with the Burgundy boys of the season. Dave Clark of Sounder At Heart and myself exchanged a few questions. Check out his answers to my queries about the Sounders below, and head over to their site if you want to see what I said about our Rapids.
BW: Since they came into the league around the same time, Clint Dempsey has had a similar start to Gabriel Torres. Neither team has struggled with the player in the side, but neither has put a point on the board yet. How has Dempsey contributed to the Sounder cause, even without getting on the scoresheet?
SaH: Dempsey has been more of a morale boost than anything. It was proof to everyone that this team is going for everything. Not only is Dempsey doing crazy moves, it spread down through the roster. Fancy little moves and goals are getting scored throughout the talent level of the squad. The only real change was adding Clint.
It's kind of odd that the highest paid player in the league is basically a talisman, but let's rewind to the beginning of the season when the Sounders were already on people's short lists to win the MLS Cup. Many already thought the talent was there (or is that here?). The team got a bit healthier and added the shiniest of things.
BW: Since we gave you the story on Klute, how about some history on Yedlin?
SaH: A few short years ago the Seattle Sounders started their Academy. From that moment DeAndre Yedlin was the most talented player on the field. He was playing for a local private school and the U-18 Academy and pretty much demonstrating that he would not be long at Akron.
When Seattle signed him after just 18 months of college (two seasons) the "plan" was that he would be a backup to either of Adam Johansson (Sweden's 2nd RB) or Brad Evans. Yedlin then earned the starting role and hasn't looked back. He still has holes in his game - most particularly his crossing and one-on-one defense. He's as fast as fast, has strong dribbling skills and his positioning on defense has improved greatly.
He's the first of a bright future coming up through the Academy ranks.
BW: Similar to the Rapids, you guys seem to have a goals by committee thing going. (Of course, yours has scored more overall.) Who would you say is the most dangerous man on the attack when the Sounders are fully healthy?
SaH: I'm certain that it will eventually be Clint Dempsey, but it isn't right now. Right now that's really a toss up. Eddie Johnson is the best in the air, maybe the best in the league in the air, maybe ever. So on set-plays and when the run-of-play allows it he scores with his head.
Obafemi Martins does crazy stuff that is a mix of creative and poacher. He'll pop up out of nowhere, work a wicked move and finish simply because the defenders are no longer present. Lamar Neagle is the hard worker, the distance shooter. He may not be this good, but the numbers, the glorious numbers.
Who is the best? I don't know. The one that scores this weekend.
Significant Absences (injury, suspension, etc): Shalrie Joseph. Leo Gonzalez. Djimi Traore. Clint Dempsey, maybe.
Projected Lineup: Gspurning; Burch, Hurtado, Scott, Yedlin; Alonso; Neagle, Evans, Rosales; Johnson, Martins.
Thanks again to Dave, head over to Sounder At Heart for everything you need on the Sounders.