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Behind Enemy Lines: Three Questions with Sounder at Heart

We talked with Dave Clark over at the Seattle Sounders SB Nation blog about the first matchup of 2014 between Sporting KC and the Sounders.


1) After having a bit of a rough start last year, do you see Clint Dempsey gelling with the team more or do you foresee more problems in 2014?

Seattle can afford to get last year's Clint Dempsey. The other talent on the roster will push them into the Playoffs. But that isn't the target for the club. The club is specific. The goal is to challenge for trophies, to be there. To be there they need the Clint Dempsey of the end of 2012 and early 2013. The man that dominated CONCACAF and who was strong in the EPL. The finisher and the creator who earned the captain's armband.

It's now been nine months since we've seen Dempsey the Dominant. For the sake of the Sounders, and the sake of America, he needs to get back to it. He needs to try shit and have it work. Seattle needs it too. If Clint is Deuce than Seattle will challenge for all three Cups. Without him they'll be a decent squad.

He'll probably be in the 18 and not play since he went 180 minutes in the last week.

2) How will the absence of Eddie Johnson play into Seattle's plans for this year? Will they end up missing him or will they be able to sustain the strong attack from 2013?

The attack shifted. For the last two years it option one and two have been to serve the ball to Eddie's head. He did a great job at that, but the new attack is much less direct. There are options across the pitch and 15-yard passes are now the key. Despite having Obafemi Martins and two-time 18-goal scorer Kenny Cooper up top it is the midfield that makes up for his loss. Even if there is a diminished Dempsey there's still Pappa, Evans, Alonso and Yedlin (who in the attack is a midfielder). It's a kind of a variety that is unusual to Seattle and probably to the league. Every player listed earlier (except Yedlin) has shown they can net five or more goals in a league of this quality or better. There's also Neagle, Barrett, Estrada on the bench that have done it too.

There will be goals.

3) DeAndre Yedlin had a strong 2013 campaign, will there be a sophomore slump for him or will he continue to shine?

His crossing is continuing to improve and he seems to have learned quite a bit from his time with the US National Team in January. If his on-ball defense gets a touch better he could be the best right back in the league. Yedlin and the staff worked on his left foot as well. DeAndre also bucks peoples thoughts about his personality. They see the wild hair and the crazy outfits and think he's a bit off. Instead he is completely grounded. Talking to him is like talking to a multi-year veteran. He's built for this pro athlete thing.