If there's been a team that has been able to claim as much injury woe as the Colorado Rapids this season, it's our next opponent, the Seattle Sounders. They've suffered quite a few blows, which has knocked them from their usual spot near the top of the Western Conference down to the seventh place spot, right below Colorado.
Dave Clark from Sounder At Heart talked about those injuries and more when we got together to have a little Q&A prior to the game on Saturday. You can see his answers to my questions below, and check out Sounder At Heart for my answers to his questions about the Rapids:
BW: Seattle has been injured just as badly as the Rapids were early in the season, which player are you guys missing the most out there?
SaH: Osvaldo Alonso was the biggest single loss. The club went a grand 2-4-1 in matches he didn't play. He's back now so that helps a lot. Shalrie Joseph is just a shell of himself. Since he was supposed to be the answer in the center of the park that's a big problem. But I'm going to go off board and say that the two minor injuries to Steve Zakuani are the most dramatic issues. It has forced a change of shape while also taking off one of the most creative players in the short history of the Rave Green. His bursts and strong short passing in space are gone. Seattle's issues with consistency in the lineup are reflected in their inconsistency in what the problem is from match to match. Zakuani would help solve matches where the problems have been "creating chances" or "scoring from chances." Of course he wouldn't help when the problem is "defending the net" or "don't fall for their thuggish crap."
BW: Injuries in mind, who's a lesser known Sounder to watch out for on Saturday that we may not have heard of in Colorado?
SaH: Since Joseph is almost certainly not fit enough to start there is a strong chance to see Servando Carrasco starting again. When he and Alonso are paired it works more like a double pivot, though Carrasco will be slightly more defensive. He does some things quite well. Most in the league probably just see him as a replacement level player who specializes in winning the ball back through hard tackles. That would greatly undersell what he's done this year. His passes are quite good and he's one of the best long passers on the team. He's helping dictate play in the attacking third from within Seattle's defensive third. That's just down right awesome. Sounders FC just have to get him the ball rather than have the center backs boot it. Carrasco is also a hidden free kick specialist and may be working his way to be the number one guy for direct kicks.
BW: Has losing Fredy Montero been of huge significance to the squad, or have other attacking players stepped up and taken the spots he normally would have?
SaH: I miss Fredy. The offense was dependent on two things that they no longer have. He would drop back into the role as a creator hitting passes that few other Sounders could even conceive as possibilities. Montero was also masterful at creating a shot out of nothing. Sometimes that was chipping a keeper from over forty yards out, or smashing a free kick, or chesting down a ball from a keeper to score while a defender was draped on his body. There is no one like that for Seattle now. Every attacking player has had do pick up that slack in different ways. Oba scores the breakaways. Mauro trying to do free kick magic. Alonso is the most frequent creator, but nothing like Fredy. He's about to sign with Sporting CP of Lisbon. So that's cool for him. Sucks for Sounders because there isn't any Allocation Money coming, nor will they have his rights if he were to return. Now I'm sad.
Projected lineup: Weber; Gonzalez, Hurtado, Scott, Yedlin; Burch, Carrasco, Alonso, Rosales; Neagle, Martins
Thanks to Dave for providing the A's to my Q's. Check out Sounder At Heart for all your Sounders reading prior to the game on Saturday.