They always say that there is no bigger game in sports than the next one on the schedule. That is especially true when a team is struggling mightily and looking to get themselves back on the right track. This will absolutely be the case on Saturday night when Sporting Kansas City take on Seattle Sounders in their eighth (and near final) straight game on the road to open up their 2011 Major League Soccer season.
It has been well-documented, Sporting KC's struggles since the seasion opening victory. Since their entrance into MLS in 2009, Seattle have continually been an upper-echelon team in the league, but perhaps Sporting are catching them at the right time, with the Sounders struggling a bit of late, as well. There will be three points up for grab that each team desperately wants and needs.
As we like to do whenever possible, I've been in touch with the writers over at Sounder At Heart, SB Nation's Sounders blog, and looked to one of the best sources for Sounders information anywhere on the Internet. His name is Dave Clark, and despite being a Sounders fan, he still seems to be good people, so here were my three biggest questions for Dave ahead of Saturday's game.
TDW: With the long-term injury to winger Steve Zakuani, the Sounders have had to severely alter their tactical approach to a much more narrow diamond shape in the midfield. Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes talked in depth about that aspect of their tactical approach. Who is the guy, or guys, who have stepped up in that part of the field in this time of transition and helped to make things run smoothly?
Also, if you haven't checked out the latest version of The Daily Wiz's podcast, "Ted And Trent Talkin' Touches", let me tell you right now - you must do so. We were joined by Sounder At Heart's Jeremiah Oshan to record a collaborative preview of Saturday's game. Not to be proud, but it is an amazing segment, so once again, many thanks to Jeremiah for doing that with us. You can find said great podcast episode right here, or on our iTunes page.
TDW: Simple question: why is James Riley still around? As someone who watches Seattle every other week or so, it always seems he is the one making the pivotal mistakes and allowing opponents' goals.