The Emerald City takes on The Mormon City (too easy?) on an unnaturally nice day in Seattle. Both teams will be at a disadvantage as they try to fight the giant yellow ball of death in the sky.
Coming out of the mid-week matches with Dallas and Chicago respectively, it looked like each side might be able to field their full starting XI's in this match, with relative health. But as the week has gone on, the injury picture has become more and more clouded (ironic on a day like today) as players' health has been put into question or dismissed entirely. The most concerning news for Sounders fans is that the Honey Badger, thought to just be taking a day off on Wednesday, might be DOUBTFUL for today's match. (Sounder at Heart)
On the other end of things, Salt Lake's Morales is listed as questionable, which mitigates but doesn't eliminate the possible absence of Alonso. Nick Rimando aka "The Short Bastard" is probable, so we won't have a reserve-on-reserve GK situation, nor will we have two starters. Anarchy.
This is the final match of a five-game stretch, which is a relief because there are a few guys that need rest, and a few more that are surely looking to nurse some injuries. Parke ran his butt off covering for Scott against Dallas, after playing 90 minutes the previous Saturday. He won't get any relief today, as Patrick Ianni had an MRI to check on his bad back. Between a winded Parke and a benched Alonso (not to mention a possible Gonzalez start, not always a master of Salt Lake's offense) I don't expect the Sounders to keep a clean sheet in this one. Thankfully, our forwards are getting hot at the right time, and the Royals didn't rest many starters in their midweek game. There should be some openings even in what is typically a pretty stingy defense on their end.
This is the biggest game of Seattle's short season. It could be a bellwether of the current roster's resolve and ability. If they win this one, they should be the consensus team-to-beat in this young MLS season. If not... well... depends on the ref we have tonight :P
BTW, if anyone actually reads this thing, I'd love to meet you. I sit in 128 row V seat 5 and will be at the March to the Match. Come say hi!