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What if Osvaldo Alonso can't play on Sunday?

Osvaldo Alonso is questionable for the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of the Western Conference final. I asked Sounder at Heart about this and other questions.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

1 - Seattle played a 0-0 draw against FC Dallas that caused gnarling abdomens across the country. Was that game plan or did Seattle's attack stall at home?

Seattle created the necessary chances to score, but did not finish. Is that the fault of the attack or the opposing keeper? As usual it was both. The Sounders did not stay in a deeper shell than typical, though Yedlin sat back more than he has against most teams (about where he plays against LA actually). Oba, Clint, Pappa, Neagle and Evans all still got forward. If they play another game like that they probably get a goal or two.

Now, the last 15 minutes or so turned into bunker time. It was nasty, ugly and all Seattle needed to win. At some point if you aren't scoring becoming a defense first team is a good idea. Plus, they were without Alonso for nearly 40 minutes. Not giving up a goal without a key defensive player like that is a credit to the whole team.

2 - Is this break for national team duty going to be a distraction for DeAndre Yedlin?

He only did half-duty with the Americans so it shouldn't be a much of a distraction. Most of the time he was away the entire team was on vacation. Plus, he hasn't seemed overwhelmed with the physical or emotional strain dealing with club and country commits this year. He's back now and practicing in full.

3 - Do the Sounders see the Galaxy put up five on a good Real Salt Lake team and feel any trepidation?

I don't think the team will be worried. Me? I'm worried. RSL has a good defense and a great keeper. Maybe LA only has a goal tank with five goals in it though and now that's drained? Please!

4 - If Osvaldo Alonso can't participate on Sunday, how does that influence things?

Michael Azira is a like-for-like replacement. His job would be to just sit back and defend for all his life. He isn't as good a passer, and should not get forward like Ozzie does. This is the most likely scenario, but Sigi could go two other ways. Andy Rose is healthy again. Rose gets forward a bit more than Azira (but lacks the long passing skill). Rose's biggest strength is his ability in the air. No matter where he is on the pitch he can win the high ball against all but the best in MLS. If Sigi wants more dead ball strength and to make the game a bit choppy both ways Andy makes sense.

There's one other path. It's the path of the worst defense, but much more offense. Sigi could go with two box-to-box mids in Pineda and Brad Evans. That enable him to start Neagle and Pappa (a vicious little magical thief) out wide. The Sounders would have to apply pressure higher up the pitch with this structure, but it is more likely to get an away goal, and away goals matter.