Entering leg two against the LA Galaxy there are still doubts about the health of Seattle Sounders FC. Neither assist leader Mauro Rosales, nor shutdown left back Leo Gonzalez are 100% according to Sigi Schmid. Already limited due to the Marc Burch suspension the lineup questions start to get complex.
Mario Martinez played on the midweek friendly date, but his mere 17 minutes should not have a great impact on his usage.
He's going to factor into this game. Where and when is something we will determine.
Down three goals the Sounders will need to both push forward for goals while not ceding one themselves. Leg one saw a change in tactics and usage for about 50% of the starting lineup. Alex Caskey returned to start and Zach Scott shifted out to left back. Martinez played on the right after scoring his goal from the left.
If one assumes a typical XI at the rest of the spots
Those three question marks heading into the most important match of the year are huge. The choices that Sigi Schmid makes there loom large.
One thing that is almost certain is that Brad Evans will play in one of those spots. If we work on the assumptions that Martinez, Gonzalez and Rosales can't start the eligible players list shrinks quickly.
Left Mid: Evans, Caskey, Rose, Zakuani, Estrada
Right Mid: Evans, Estrada, Rose
Left Back: Scott, Evans, Rose
Tiffert could of course shift out wide with Evans or Rose taking the interior. It would put him into a more creative role and if he's on the left his defense would match him against Beckham, Franklin and Wilhelmsson.
In some ways it won't matter what the shape and the tactics are. Seattle will have to play a perfect game to overcome the Galaxy. As Evans said earlier in the week, "We've just got to go out and play like there's no tomorrow."
If Sunday goes as the world expects it there won't be and 2012 will end.