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Game 29: The Sounders at Home (For real this time)

After rescheduling the game due to snow the first time, the Sounders are coming back—and without several international players.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This game was originally scheduled to be the Colorado Rapids’ seventh game in the season. Right in the middle of a horrible run of form and after we went to Seattle and got our first loss, too. I covered the Seattle Sounders way back then, but needless to say, a lot has changed. We’re now on our third head coach, and oh hey, we got a few wins in between then and now. A couple of major players have come in, like Jonathan Lewis and Lalas Abubakar. So, let’s take everything about that earlier game and forget about it. It’s time to look at Seattle as they stand today.

The Sounders have been doing pretty well. They currently sit in second place in the increasingly tight Western Conference. They’ve brought in some interesting names, such as Xavier Arreaga, Joevin Jones, and Emanuel Cecchini. Combined with a couple of young homegrown players, their roster has only improved since the season started.

However, their roster is going to be in shambles this coming weekend, and for one major reason: Seattle will have ten players out on international duty, many of them starters.

We have four out: Kei Kamara got called up to the Sierra Leone National Team after all, Diego Rubio to the Chilean National Team, Cole Bassett got called up to the US U-20 Men’s National Team, and Sebastian Anderson will be with the US U-17 Men’s National Team. But nothing close to what Seattle has to deal with.

Given the number of call-ups, it’s practically impossible to guess what their full lineup will look like. I’d still expect a 4-2-3-1 with Stefan Frei in net, but beyond that? It will be tough to say. Some of their biggest hitters will be out and they will only have about 11 players to fill out the 10 positions. Goalkeepers aside, that’s… not a lot of players. Nicolas Lodeiro, Kim Kee-hee, and Luis Silva should probably still be making the field, but with Will Bruin injured indefinitely, Victor Rodriguez and Alex Roldan in an unknown state of injury—and of course Roman Torres getting suspended for being a filthy cheater—they are playing without a full hand.

After doing some research, I found out about the MLS “Extreme Hardship” rules would allow Seattle to sign players on short-term loans from their USL affiliate, in this case the Tacoma Defiance, so it will be pretty interesting to see who they bring to the field this weekend. They may be forced to play some players out of position or give minutes or starts to players that they might not normally see. They may have to change formation from what they want to play to what they have to play.

Regardless, much like last week, it will be more important to see how the Rapids play. The Red Bulls may have underestimated our Burgundy Boys, but we still played a pretty solid game. This game will be another great chance for us to see what Robin Fraser can do with the players available and it will be all the more important that we welcome him back to Colorado for his first home game. Show up, be loud, and let’s watch the Rapids get revenge and three points.