The Seattle Sounders are looking forward to tonight’s tilt against the visiting team from D.C. They’ve lost three games in a row now and have fallen out of first place in the West, United would love to leave Seattle with a result and continue to tighten their hold on the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Even though the Black-and-Red lost to Philadelphia two days ago in the US Open Cup, they were able to rest a large number of key players. That time off in this hectic schedule will surely benefit the side as they face one of the best teams in the league on the road.
Seattle will be going up against one of the league’s better back lines without a couple of key attacking players. There will be no Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins for the Sounders tonight, that doesn’t mean they’ll be without quality players upfront. Chad Barrett and Lamar Neagle will have to step up and make plays for their team if they wish to avoid a fourth consecutive loss. They’ll have to be aggressive and creative if they wish to break down United’s backline, with Boswell, Birnbaum, and Hamid in goal, it will be a very tall task.
It’s not all about what the visitor’s back line has to worry about, the home team will be faced with the task of keeping both Fabian Espindola and Chris Rolfe quiet. Which is much easier said than done, while the Black-and-Red don’t have a tremendous attack, they are very dangerous when those two players have the ball. Espindola leads the team in assists after holding the lead for goals scored last season, his ability to occupy centre backs is a key part of their attack. He’s able to possess the ball in the attacking third and use his skill and vision to make plays for teammates. Rolfe has been a bit more aggressive in the attacking third this year, rather than look to make plays for others, which he still does, he doesn’t hesitate on finishing. His creativity is what makes him so dangerous, he’s able to combine with seemingly anyone. Those two are definitely a handful for any defense.
United hasn’t won a match in Seattle since 2011, they’ll look to change that tonight. Here’s what they have to do to get the result:
Keys to a United Win
- Start fast. Take the air out of Seattle’s crowd as quickly as possible, instill that sense of doubt. The Sounders are missing a couple of key players and there’s not a better time than now to go up there and leave with the result
- Own midfield. It’s not known whether Olvasdo Alonso will play, but it’s imperative that Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud own midfield regardless if Alonso plays or not. If United can dictate the terms of this match, it’ll go a long way in ensuring that they’ll leave with the desired result
- Sustain possession. This has been a key for the Black-and-Red all season long, when they do this, they are at their most dangerous. When they don’t, things get interesting and they end up playing from behind
- Make Runs. Players must make runs behind the opposing backline when Fabi or Rolfe has the ball, both are willing passers. Get open and they’ll find you, create chaos in the box