Sounders at Sporting KC - Three Questions

When last these teams met the very heavens were heavy with anticipation - Ed Zurga

In a week with a quick turn around for both clubs Seattle gets an extra day off compared to their hosts, who get to sleep in their own beds. The 5:30 PM Wednesday (KONG/KIRO) night match is the first between last year's US Open Cup Finalists since the day that the Sounders lost on a draw.

Ten months ago Sporting Kansas City drew itself its first trophy in some amount of years that matters more to them than to Seattle. It was the high point of their rebrand, to this point. For the Seattle Sounders it was the second lost trophy opportunity of the year. That was a long time ago. Sporting lost its best defensive minded player to the EPL. They loaned their multi-talented forward out to Norwich City. Despite those things the Kansas City club sits 5-3-2 +6 and could put a claim as the best team in the league so far this year. The Rave Green are 1-3-3 -2 and will be a team contesting the bottom of the SBN Monthly Power Rankings.

Prior to that one match it was a history of late game winners by the club from the Sound. History will not determine victory. It will season it a bit for the fans, but according to Sigi ""When you look at the game, we thought we had enough pieces of the game and we were very competitive. So we feel we can certainly play with KC."

And play they will on Wednesday night. Answering Three Questions is Ben from The Daily Wiz.

SaH: Kei Kamara is back. Why didn't Norwich City extend the loan? Will he play against Seattle?

tDW: My hope is that he comes in as a sub during the 70th minute against Seattle just for the Cauldron reaction. There's a myriad of reasons Norwich didn't extend his loan, at least from what I saw. First, they're still fighting to stay in the premier league and don't want to lock anyone up in case they get relegated. Also, they just signed another striker and, even though Van Wolfswinkle is a different type of striker than Kamara, I see their reasoning for not wanting to lock up another one.

SaH: Each of the past two years KC has grabbed unde-rperforming youngsters from San Jose. Which of Opara and Convey are helping Sporting more?

tDW: Tough to say so far, but I'm leaning toward Opara. We really needed some defensive depth and Opara has provided some good young depth. He started on Sunday in the place of Matt Besler and performed admirably. Convey, while be started on the wing this season, has been relegated to the bench amongst the surplus of forwards we have. I think we'll have to wait until we get into the USOC and CCL to see how well they do as depth, but right now I'm leaning Opara.

SaH: The central midfield changes from last year put Zusi wide much more in '13 and uses a couple players to do what Espinoza does. That is working defensively, but does it channel too much offense to the flanks?

tDW: I don't think so, given that our main ball distributor in the midfield has been central. Our big midfield offseason signing Benny Feilhaber has been the primary play-maker in the midfield by forcing the ball up to the wings through the center. While the flanks have been important in our ability to score, it hasn't channeled TOO much offense to the flanks.

Significant Injuries: Myers (Hamstring)

Projected Lineup: 4-3-3 Nielsen; Jerome, Besler, Collin, Sinovic; Rosell; Gardner, Feilhaber; Peterson, Bieler, Zusi

* * *

reverse

tDW: Seattle has started off incredibly slow this year. What's been the biggest reason why and what's the general mood around Sounders fans?

SaH: Continuity. Seattle lost its best defender and best attacking player in the offseason and the reload took time. During that time plenty of others got injured, there were national team calls and some poor luck. All in all the start is really poor. Seattle has used a different lineup in every match of their MLS and CCL campaigns and that will continue on Wednesday night. For the first four years this club has contended for trophies. This start to the season is not just a shock, but starting to wear thin on a significant portion of the fanbase. Panic has not started yet, but we do see it.

tDW: This will be the first match between Sporting KC and Seattle since the USOC final. Will revenge be on the Sounders' minds?

SaH: It will for the fans. On Sigi's conference call with reporters today he indicated that he felt the team did enough to win. This issue with that match, for all concerned, comes down to referee decisions and not quality of either teams' play. In the record books it goes down as a draw that won a Cup. A Cup that belongs back in Seattle. That starts at the end of the month. With the amount of roster churn I don't think the Sounders are going to think about that much. They are going to be more concerned about turning the current season around.

tDW: How will Mauro Rosales returning to the right wing affect the team?

SaH: When he plays at his full potential he's a fringe MVP candidate. The problem is that Seattle has not seen much of that until his match against Philly. If he continues to play at that level he'll be racking up the assists again while providing creativity and set-play danger. He is particularly strong in how he sees Eddie Johnson. When those two are "on" goals happen. Spectacular Heddie Johnson goals.

Lineup predictions: Gspurning; Gonzalez, Traore, Hurtado, Evans; Alonso; Martinez, Rose, Rosales; Estrada, Johnson

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