Two matches last week — two semi-expected results for the Seattle Sounders FC.
Two wins were preferred, one victory and a draw would have been OK — but the Rave Green split the matches at FC Dallas and home against Chivas USA right up the gut. One win and one loss. As I said though, not totally surprising.
The week started as a very long road trip ended — a semi-successful road trip I must add. The Sounders came back to Seattle with a US Open Cup trophy, but also the baggage of two league losses in a row to New York (4-1) and Dallas (3-1). The defense was exploited, the attack was limited and everything seemed to be falling apart for the Rave Green. Luckily their buffer atop the Supporters Shield standings would see them come home deadlocked with the LA Galaxy on points and games for the regular season title.
Then there was the goats. Somehow Chivas scored first — Seattle responded. Then Chivas scored again — the Sounders leveled it. Chivas would not score again, while the Rave Green would bag two more for a 4-2 victory.
So now we’re here — with four matches to go and an absolute deadlock still between Seattle and LA, us and them, the good guys and the bad guys.
As I mentioned last week, the final two matches should still decide the Shield winner as LA and Seattle face off twice to end the season, but both teams have two matches to play before then.
Seattle travels this week — Sunday to be exact — to Commerce City, Colo. to face a blundering Colorado Rapids side. Nothing has changed from last week, this should be a win. Then again we said that last season around this time of year against this very team.
The big question still looming over Sounders fans heads will be who USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann calls into his team camp for a pair of friendlies scheduled for Oct. 10 in Hartford, Conn. and Oct. 14 in Boca Raton, Fla.
In all likelihood, any Sounders player who will be called into the camp will leave from Colorado and be able to play a full 90 Sunday. The concern of course would be for the following Friday night’s Cascadia Cup decider at home against Vancouver — the same day as the USMNT match against Ecuador.
Although it’s a crapshoot as to who will get the call from Klinsmann, we can expect Clint Dempsey, DeAndre Yedlin and Brad Evans to be in the discussion, but MLSSoccer.com seems to think that Dempsey and Evans will be spared — leaving only Yedlin to miss the Whitecaps match, a position Evans could slot into easily.
But focusing on this week and the match at hand, it should be a full strength lineup available for Sigi Schmid and the Sounders, minus Zach Scott — who may actually be able to play after his ankle injury in Dallas.
Expect Seattle to roll-out an attacking lineup with the duo of Dempsey and Obafemi Martins (who just was named MLS Player of the Month, btw) up top, Marco Pappa and Lamar Neagle out wide, Ozzie Alonso and some other CM (Andy Rose, Gonzalo Pineda, Michael Azeria or Brad Evans) rounding out the midfield and a back line of Yedlin, Chad Marshall and any combination of another CB and LB due to injury/rest.
Getting an ideal lineup out there right now would be nice, but with injuries I’m not sure that would happen.
Speaking of ideal lineup — what is that for the Sounders right now? There are so many moving pieces that 13 or so guys could be considered ideal. But going into the two LA matches, this is the team I’d like to see out there — I think.
Frei; Gonzalez, Marshall, Scott, Yedlin; Evans, Alonso, Pineda, Pappa; Martins and Dempsey, with the subs being Neagle, Barrett and Rose.
Sunday’s match by the way can be seen at noon locally on Joe TV in the Seattle area.
Three points are the only acceptable outcome this weekend — along with hoping that a red-hot LA team can cool down and maybe drop some points at home against Toronto. #fingerscrossed