The Seattle Sounders are in town today to take on FC Dallas in a big early season battle for the two Western Conference sides. As we like to do with each game, we’ve asked some questions about our upcoming opponent to a fellow blogger. This time we welcome in Dave Clark from Sounder at Heart.
BDS: Seattle joined FC Dallas in the list of MLS teams that crashed out of the CCL this month, how did that series with Chivas affect the team? And what kind of gas do they have in the tank for Sunday after the heavy travel this week?
SaH: It broke the team. Already suffering from a significant set of injuries, the loss to Guadalajara took away the last healthy forward, plus it displayed that a couple players aren’t fit enough for two starts in less than a week, and yet they’ll still have to do it. If there is any bit of good news it is that Sounders can now focus on only one tournament for a bit. This is a blessing since five starting quality players are injured. Maybe Seattle’s best XI are capable of winning in Mexico, but their 7-20 are not.
BDS: Seattle didn’t appear to add a ton of new players this offseason like Dallas, are there any new faces that we should know about who will be making an impact this season?
SaH: For all the bluster within the Seattle fanbase regarding the lack of signings there were two TAM players, plus a rotational leftback, an HGP who looks every bit like a future MLS starter and their first round pick. Let’s break it down for you.
Kim Kee-Hee: He’s a fringe South Korean centerback who joins from Shanghai Shenua. Unfortunately the Sounders on tabs for his full contract, no magic Svensson-like money with this one. His first game was as a first half sub for the injured Chad Marshall. It’s hard to use that to judge his skill set. He’s big, but mobile enough to get starts at right back on a World Cup quality team during qualifiers.
Magnus Wolff Eikrem: That’s the last time you’ll see his full name. He just goes by Wolff. He kind of fell into Seattle’s laps. He’s another in their list of “mostly central attacking midfielders.” He’s a bit more direct than Rodriguez, but shares his skills in set-piece delivery. He’s also quite hungry for goals, hungry like a wolf.
Waylon Francis: Francis shouldn’t yet be aged out of starting at left back, but injuries took time away from him during the past few seasons with the Crew. He is slower and more cautious than Nouhou, which generally should mean that he provides more defensive support. His matches against Chivas were not good.
Handwalla Bwana: Seattle’s latest HGP is a wunderkind who has been likened to Darlington Nagbe, but Bwana looks goal dangerous. Signed after his second season with the UW Huskies Handwalla is only 18.
Alex Roldan: Most well known for being Cristian’s younger brother, Alex is a bit more attacking. He was a star at Seattle U and looks to have earned his contract by working just as hard as one would expect fro a Roldan.
BDS: It may be too early to tell but is there any concern in Seattle after the first couple weeks of the season after seeing the injuries pile up and the results not stick?
SaH: There’s concern. There was already concern about the offense after Jordan Morris went down. Now there is no Will Bruin until he can pass concussion protocol. While the defense can be extraordinary still the attack can stagnate into possession without bit. It is going to be up to Clint Dempsey, Harry Shipp, Bwana and Wolff against FC Dallas. That’s the attack. It’s not great. Reinforcements may have to wait until the secondary transfer window, forcing the fanbase to slog through another half season of struggles.
Lineup predictions: Stefan Frei; Nouhou, Roman Torres, Kim Kee-Hee, Kelvin Leerdam; Jordy Delem, Cristian Roldan; Harry Shipp, Wolff, Handwalla Bwana; Clint Dempsey