Sounders seek second straight in Philly – Preview

Jeff Parke was a rock in the back for the Rave Green for three seasons. Now that he’s in Philly it might be a bit harder to love him — but we can try.

Welcome to what may be the best day of sports so far this year.

Not only are the Seattle Sounders FC looking for their second straight/overall MLS win of the young season against the Philadelphia Union, but the Kentucky Derby also takes place.

So before you get your suit and mint juleps ready for the “greatest two minutes in sports,” remember that you must first give your full 90 to a team that is actually healthy and could start to look and play very different than what we’ve seen this season.

Welcome to the day we may meet the Sounders side we’ve imagined all off-season.

Keys to the match –

Stop Jack Mcinerney-

The Union goal scoring machine has been on an absolute tear to start the campaign, already notching six goals and the April MLS Player of the Month award.

Despite the Rave Green’s record, their defense lead by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and Djimi Traore has been one of the best in the league, allowing only three goals in six matches.

Mcinerney brings a different dynamic to the field though for the Union. A classic, do-it-all style forward, Mcinerney is the type of guy that can finish from anywhere inside the box. Beside him though, the Union’s attack shouldn’t been nearly enough to worry Seattle.

How are ya feeling today? –

Although we won’t see the “first choice” starting XI for the Sounders today, manager Sigi Schmid said that striker Eddie Johnson is back and with the team, while new DP Obafemi Martins is close to 100 percent.

Beside the two forwards, the rest of the gang, including David Estrada, seem fairly healthy and should be eligible for selection today.

This only means good things for the chemistry of a club still young in their season and hungry for points.

I remember that guy –

For quite a few seasons, that phrase was directed at former Sounder midfielder Sebastian Le Toux when these two sides faced off, but now when Rave Green fans look across the Union backbone they’ll see an all-time favorite, Jeff Parke.

Parke, a standout defender for the Sounders since his move from NY, made the love this offseason back to where is family is at on the east coast.

There should be nothing but respect shown for a guy like Parke who worked his behind off in Rave Green. Here’s hoping his only poor day of the season is today.

Projected Starting XI —

GK – Michael Gspurning
CB – Djimi Traore             CB – Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
RB – DeAndre Yedlin                      LB – Leo Gonzalez
CDM – Ozzie Alonso
RM – Brad Evans                 LM – Steve Zakuani
CM – Shalrie Joseph
FW – Eddie Johnson           FW – Lamar Neagle

Where to watch — 

The match can be seen locally on KONG 6/16 and heard on KIRO radio. Kick-off is at 1 p.m. PST