Tonight Seattle faces Western Conference nemesis Salt Lake in preseason action. Again, the results matter less than the process and lessons learned.
At 3 PM (Pacific) Seattle Sounders FC will again take on Real Salt Lake in game action. This time the result is not very important. The first lineup that Jason Kreis played in the Desert Diamond Cup was primarily youngsters competing for time in the 18 or even on the roster. After going up 2-nil on New York the squad from Utah gave up two more goals. That first match provided some insight into how Kreis uses preseason according to Matt from www.RSLSoapBox.com;
Jason Kreis is certainly a fitness-focused coach in preseason, which may have played into it — but it could well be that Kreis wanted to give these young players a chance in a vaguely competitive environment to communicate and build understanding. When we look at the players who came in during the second half, we see players who were involved with national team duty or are generally just a bit older. It was also a side that features more innate understanding, and perhaps as a result needs less opportunity to develop that. At any rate, I suspect the next match will feature the flip of this, and the veteran players will start the match. Variety, spice of life — all that.
In this second match the starting lineup may be a bit stronger just due to fitness.
For the Sounders Sigi Schmid indicated that his likely First XI would start again, but get less time as they prep for the CCL match against UANL Tigres (we have a view party).
"It’s probably going to be a bit of a mix Saturday for us. We tried to push our starters through 60 minutes or so in the game on Wednesday, but we’ll try and get them probably another 45 on Saturday, and then hold them until we play the Veracruz game on Friday," Schmid said on Thursday's conference call. "The reserves will play the second half [on Saturday], the reserves will play the majority of the minutes the following Wednesday, and then the following Saturday, as well."
The biggest question from that decision will be who slots at the withdrawn forward and who is the not-Hurtado centerback. The rest of the health First XI is fairly obvious at this time. Last time we saw David Estrada and Djimi Traore in those spots. If Traore starts his third straight preseason match a signing is imminent.
With Estrada as the forward expect more throughballs up the middle and more balls over the top than last year. There will be less of the intricate work at the top of the box though.
Mario Martinez should make his return to the Rave Green in the second half.
"Yes, he will get some time. He just got in today. We will see how he feels tomorrow," Schmid said via team release yesterday. "He really hasn’t been with the group at all so we are probably not going to put him with the first team, probably let him play more in the second half with the reserves. Hopefully he will help that group out a little bit by keeping possession. He’s a guy who is going to be in our starting lineup or playing a lot of minutes."
It would seem at this time that Martinez and Andy Rose are likely first subs in league play, where their time would be dependent on score not their spot on a depth chart. Though Neagle, Caskey and Ochoa may have something to say about that on offense. When defense is needed the competition looks to be Burch, Scott and Zavaleta.
The following unsigned players are still in camp;
Keeper - Doug Herrick
Defender - Dylan Remick, Djimi Traore, Ashani Fairclough
Midfielder - Kevin Durr, Philip Lund
Forward - Travis Bowen, Jennings Rex, Will Bates (inj)
Sounder at Heart will again carry the livestream of tonight's match via MLSSoccer.com.