Oh hey, a game against the Western Conference leaders, who beat the Rapids 4-1 when we last met. That's sure to be a fun romp in the park! Anyway, the Seattle Sounders host the Colorado Rapids this weekend, so we caught up with Dave Clark from Sounder at Heart to see how the rave green were doing. My questions about the Sounders are below; you can head over the SaH if you want to see my answers to their Rapids-centric questions.
BW: Earlier in the season, the narrative for Seattle seemed to be the ol' Liverpool narrative: super offense, mediocre defense. Is that still true as we get into the homestretch?
SaH: There's no doubt that the offense is still potent. It went through a bit of a swoon during the recent slump and in many ways was more to blame than the defense was poor back when the team was at its hottest. The thing to understand about Seattle is that though old, it plays a very up-tempo game trying to jam the ball down the throats of the opponents. That pace leads to many opportunities to score, but it also opens them up to counters. Osvaldo Alonso and Chad Marshall are great defensive players, but if they are under constant pressure they can still give up goals.
The key for Seattle will not be finding balance, but instead to fully commit to their philosophy. It means that going down a goal doesn't matter. They will score. They will likely outscore their opponent. It's really scary and exciting at the same time, but getting players like Clint and Oba a few extra touches a game is pretty magical.
2. Past the Dempsey-Martins partnership, who's the most dangerous man to look out for on the Sounders?
Right now it's Chad Barrett. That surprises us too. The hybrid forward/winger plays quite direct. Every action is towards goal and he's nailed seven of those in league play. Chad's been a bit of a journeyman and here in Seattle he was expected to be deep depth behind Oba, Clint, Cooper, and Neagle. And in many ways he is, but his lack of playing time isn't holding him back. He's second in the league in minutes per goal (Wright-Phillips leads). Barrett won't make it look pretty but he will threaten the goal and probably score. He's done that in four straight matches in all competitions.
3. The gap has closed a bit after Seattle seemed sure Shield winners earlier in the year. Who do you see as the biggest competition for the Shield down to the wire?
LA and KC. The good news for Seattle fans is that the season ends with two matches against the Galaxy. So if LA and Seattle are still in the running for the Shield both will control their destiny. The bad news for Sounders fans is that if the Rave Green falter and Sporting doesn't there's nothing that Seattle can do to stop them. At least the Sporks have the distraction of the CCL ahead of them.
Projected lineup: Frei; Gonzalez, Traore, Marshall, Yedlin; Pappa, Pineda, Alonso, Evans; Dempsey, Martins