BRIDGEVIEW, IL -AUGUST 03: Marco Pappa #16 of the Chicago Fire and Stefani Miglioranzi #6 of the Philadelphia Union vie for the ball during an MLS match on August 3, 2011 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
The most intriguing thing is that both teams number 10s are gameday decisions. Neither Seattle Sounders winger Mauro Rosales nor center attacking mid Sebastian Grazzini of the Chicago Fire played in their last match due to injuries. Both though are on a path that could have them making a return to the starting XI for the Cup Final. James Riley's availability is also dependent upon his body's health on Tuesday morning. Maybe it is a symbol of how key these players are, but both ourselves and HotTimeInOldTown put forward projected lineups that include the gameday decisions.
Both teams have the opportunity to field their ideal teams outside of the injury issues. Sigi Schmid and Frank Klopas used reserves and rested players over the weekend and so the fans should be able to see two strong, ball on the ground, technical teams battle for a trophy.
Chicago sits in a 4-3-1-2 that's a bit lopsided. Logan Pause shifts from his more typical CDM slot to a right mid, but a patient one that sits back more. Marco Pappa wide left will be more offensive than box-to-box and is certainly capable of playing in a forwards space. They are weak in non-PK dead ball situations with a -8 Goal Differential. Unlike their offense, this has been consistent through the year. Klopas team aggressively pounces on rebounds and their run-of-play goals are much more successful in the past few months.
There is some question as to which Sounder will start at leftback. At this point in the season the two options seem to shift regularly. Leo Gonzalez is the better on man defender and provides strong short passing support in the attack. He is best able to take advantage of Pause' play. If Tyson Wahl starts his height is more likely to be used on offense than his strong service, particularly when Mike Fucito offers left footed service as well.
Statistics today are only for MLS play, except for the box in the lower left that notes the goal scorers in US Open Cup and Qualification play.