Sounders can take a huge step towards their first silverware of the 2009 inaugural season - the Heritage Cup. The Cup is a Supporters Cup initiated by Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation and will be determined by a best of last two matches between all clubs with an NASL heritage name.
Points here are needed for more than just league success.
How will Sounders get the three points this week? That's tough. The injury report has the following players out with injury - GK Chris Eylander (L medial knee bone bruise); DF Zach Scott (partial tear abdominal muscle); DF Taylor Graham (R metatarsal fracture); FW Jarrod Smith (L hamstring strain, with NZ at Confederations Cup). QUESTIONABLE: MF Peter Vagenas (R ankle pain) PROBABLE: MF Osvaldo Alonso (R quad strain) and of course the card situation has hit Nate Jaqua and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
That's 7 or 8 players out from 26 man roster.
Here's what we know tactically for Sounders FC
The Backline will be Wahl-Marshall-Ianni-Riley. Keller will start in goal.
That's it. The formation and other starters are impossible to guess. So many changes could be made due to the Cards. Sigi could go with the 4-1-3-2 if Alonso is healthy with Montero and Le Toux up top, or he could sit Montero and sacrifice a winnable game to prove a point (several fans seem to think that would be a good idea). Me, I'm a fan of putting the most talent on the pitch as possible for every match. In order to return to the rapid transition game that defined the team's first 6 matches will not be possible without the flair of certain players.
The good news for the Sounders is that the San Jose Earthquakes have reinvented their team. Out is a player with Sounders heritage (Cam Weaver) as well as Nick Garcia the vocal but aging defender. In are Forward Chris Wondolowski from Houston and Darren Huckerby is likely match fit again.
The lineup will be influx as well due to Bobby Convey (LW, LM, LWB) being out, which will hurt their chances of dealing him off as they reinvent themselves for a midseason run.
Here's what we know
Alvarez (PP90 of 0.82) and Johnson (PP90 of 1.01) have spurred what little offense that the 'Quakes have thrown together so far. Huckerby was potent last year and in limited minutes this season has put up decent numbers with two assists in just over 290 minutes. Chris Leitch has discovered the assist bug as well with a career high of four this early in the year.
San Jose is last in offense and last in defense. This is the ideal home match to recover from troubles, except for the injuries and cards.
- Some notes
The even Thursday night had about 40 people, and many others contributed as well. We also got great news that day from the scans and things are looking up on that front. Thank you to everyone who helped out in our time of need. We are a pay it forward family, and in this case will try to pay it backwards as well.
Don Garber's latest blog entry is out. You may recognize a name in one of the paragraphs. MLS 3.0 started with TFC, continues with SSFC and will continue to shift with the new CBA and the 2011 expansions in the wake of a World Cup year.
Lastly, I hope to be at a more usual pace again this week.