Just like we’ve done in previous games this season, we got together with our opponent’s blog to discuss today’s game. Today we welcome Dave Clark in from Sounder at Heart to talk about what we should expect out of today’s game.
BDS: The turnaround this summer has been impressive to say the least. Has it been more about the coaching change, the addition of Lodeiro, or a combination of a few things?
SaH: The team would have done better with either of the single changes. Sigi Schmid, when he had three dynamic players won a lot of soccer games, particularly with the Sounders. Adding Lodeiro to Dempsey and Morris would have done that. But, it wouldn't have been like this. What's happened is down right extraordinary. The 7-1-4 +8 record since the addition of Lodeiro and hiring of Schmetzer has to be about both of them. Schmetz is winning with just Morris and Lodeiro now, and even in games where Nico isn't performing at an MVP level. The players bought into Brian Schmetzer's attitude that they, the players, own the team's performance.
BDS: Speaking of Lodeiro, talk about how he has changed this team for the better since joining back in the summer.
SaH: Most MLS players have a key attribute, or maybe two, or those that are on the US National Team and similar have three. Lodeiro's list of assets are similar to what MVPs have. His set-piece service is decent. His ability to thread a throughball is among the best in the league. He provides defense in attacking areas as good as anyone in the league. When a shot comes available he takes it, often converting, but always dangerous. He can switch the attack on a one-touch ball. Nico's the kind of player you create when you play a sports video game and want the Mary Sue action, except he's real.
Nicolas Lodeiro is not coasting while in MLS, instead he's taking the opportunity to further cement himself in the Uruguay National Team while winning trophies in his new league.
BDS: The result on Wednesday had to be a little disappointing to not clinch, how do the Sounders replace Alonso and Ivanschitz?
SaH: Without Osvaldo Alonso the Sounders will need to look to a strong performance from Erik Friberg. Cristian Roldan can handle the increased pressure. His development this year is a key to the season, and Seattle's future. But Friberg will need to be measured in his runs forward, stronger in tackling while his long passing should be a bit more featured than typical. A match without Andreas Ivanschitz is a bit tougher, as it means that his set-piece delivery is gone. Schmetzer will look to some combination of Brad Evans, Herculez Gomez and Aaron Kovar for the wider midfielders. That combination offers more defense than Ivanschitz/Fernandez, but they will lack in possession and creation. That will put more attacking pressures on Friberg, Lodeiro and maybe the fullbacks.
Projected lineup: Stefan Frei; Joevin Jones, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Tyrone Mears; Cristian Roldan, Erik Friberg; Herculez Gomez, Nicolas Lodeiro, Brad Evans; Jordan Morris