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SKCvSEA: Three Questions with Sounder at Heart

Insight from a different perspective ahead of Sporting KC’s clash with the Seattle Sounders.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve read the previews & listened to the podcasts from the KC perspective. Now it’s time to get some insight about Sunday’s Western Conference showdown between Sporting KC & the Seattle Sounders from the other side of the field. Dave Clark from our sister blog, Sounder at Heart, took time to answer questions for us (see my answers to their questions over on their site).

  1. Two straight losses for the Sounders. Any cause for concern as we hit the final stretch?

Since that teenager powered win over Austin FC the Sounders are 4-4-1, +1. That’s fine, but not good. Eventually the injuries and flaws catch up to a team. Starting with a record-setting pace and keeping it up is impossible. The fall was to be expected, even if it is further than any of us would like. There’s reason to hope. A few more weeks and maybe Jordan Morris comes back. Stefan Frei and Nouhou are already back. Things should be bright and cheery. Optimism should rule the day. This three-match stretch will decide the demeanor of the fanbase, because facing at KC- atSan Jose-v. Colorado in a week is a rough stretch. Do well there and the prospects of a playoff run should be high.

2. Do you expect Wednesday’s League’s Cup match to have an impact on Brian Smetzer Starting XI this weekend?

Not much. He rotated ahead of that match and should be able to play most of those starters on Sunday. There’s no point in rotating out of this match. Seattle must return Lumen Field to being a place that opponents dread, because the Sounders intend to make a playoff run, mostly at home. Beating Sporting KC and the match next week against Colorado are playoff previews. You don’t rest against the best. The time to rest would be midweek playing at San Jose.

Schmetzer should be confident in his squad to about fifteen outfield players deep. After that they do get weaker. He’s also more confident in the next five than most fans are at this point.

3. How do you stop Raúl Ruidíaz from scoring goals?

We’re not at Josef Martinez levels yet, but the best tactic may be to think that Raúl will be getting a goal (math says two goals every three games). So, keep him from getting two by reducing his touches. The side effect of this technique is that it also limits the chance that he gets even one. Then you merely have to shut down — I don’t really know. There’s no consistent second scoring threat. Yes, 11 other players have a goal in league play. Fredy Montero has 6 and Brad Smith has 3, for third on the team. He last scored 19 MLS matches ago. Seattle’s attack isn’t quite a one-note song, but it definitely lacks a melody.