The LA Galaxy are back in action on Saturday, when they will host the Seattle Sounders in what the locals hope will be a big huge reopening party, on and off the field. To get a sense of how things are going for the Sounders these days, I checked back in with my good friend Dave Clark of SB Nation’s Seattle soccer site Sounder at Heart. Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to answer my questions!
LAG Confidential asks Sounder at Heart:
1. The Sounders had some injury issues around the last clash with the Galaxy. Are any of those players back in contention, or have more joined the sick bay?
The injury news got worse. That Galaxy match had everyone thinking that Nicolás Lodeiro would be back at full strength shortly. Unfortunately that was the only match in which he’s appeared. Nico’s knee had a minor operation and he’s now out until late July or maybe even August.
Stefan Frei went down in the win over San Jose. At first the thought was that he could be back as early as this week. Unfortunately a blood clot has him out indefinitely. Stefan Cleveland is now starting at goalkeeper. Jordy Delem was injured in that same match. He’s out for the season with an ACL injury.
To review: starters out long term are Jordan Morris, Lodeiro, and Frei. Delem was a rotational player who slots in at RCB or DM.
2. What’s your stance on whether the long break will be good for the Sounders, or if it’s just potentially impeding their momentum?
The good news is that they get one of their injured players, Josh Atencio, back soon. They’ll need him and he might be in the matchday twenty next week. Plus the older, for soccer, dudes like Will Bruin and Kelyn Rowe need rest more than youngsters. Rowe is being used as frequently as he was back in 2017, and that was a year that was basically just a game a week. 2021 is different and rest is vital. Will Bruin is basically at his 2015 usage levels. Do you remember 2015? I don’t.
Also, they faded a bit before the break. Back-to-back draws exposed some holes. While the defense was still strong, the attack showed that its one-note song is boring. A couple weeks to figure out how to get an attack that’s more than just Raúl Ruidíaz could lead to another Hungry, Hungry Hippos style gobbling of points.
3. I know the Sounders are good, but their numbers are absolutely incredible. What do you fear in terms of slowing down this team at this stage?
All the preseason concerns about depth are about to come right and truly tested. A team that is starting backups at six or so positions for about a month will struggle. That sort of problem cannot be solved via tactics, at least not in the long term. They need players healthy and they just need more players. Most of the time this season Seattle hasn’t had a full matchday 20. Having fresher legs via rotation and substitution can make up for depth.
Predicted lineup: Cleveland; Nouhou, O’Neill, Yeimar; Smith, João Paulo, Rowe, A.Roldan; C.Roldan; Ruidíaz, Bruin
You can find my answers to Dave’s questions at Sounder at Heart.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.