When these teams last met it was so that the Seattle Sounders could clinch their spot in the next round of CONCACAF Champions League play. This time the only thing on the line is seeding for Seattle as Marathon is expected to bring a weakened squad.
Seeding is the primary concern of the Sounders in Wednesday night's match. After yesterday's results any spot between seventh (with a loss) and a chance at first with an 11 goal differential win. It is most likely that a win would get Seattle Sounders FC the third spot as Monterrey and Santos Laguna are dominating. Full seeding based on other results will wait until the Thursday night matches.
Since the last meeting Marathon is different team. They are 3-0-2 +4 in league play and earned a 2-1 result over Caledonia AIA in the CCL. The early season switch of coaches seems to have worked. Marathon now sits in third in the league. There is little reason that they will bring a top side the Puget Sound when they have much more important matches on the horizon.
Their defense is still poor compared to their league. During that hot stretch they've given up five goals against. Mitchell Brown is tied for 3rd in the league with 5 goals. Again, it is doubtful he comes to Seattle.
For Sigi Schmid the lineup will also be reduced as this is the last opportunity to rest players prior to the vital MLS Cup Playoff run. This will mean a start for Marcus Hahnemann. It is his first as an MLS Sounder, but 66th with the team. It is also going to involve a look at Mario Martinez who now has a long stretch of practices and games in the Rave Green ahead of him. This is particularly likely now that Martinez and Schmid worked through their communication issues. Lastly, it is another chance for the Sounders brand to impress players, agents and coaches throughout the region.
The match is at 7 PM Pacific on Fox Soccer with plenty of tickets available.