The story of this game could be one of matchups, of lineup construction, or of the coaching philosophies, but for me the story is the three players vying for the MLS Rookie of the Year. While Stefan Frei deserves much praise, offense almost always sells, and in this case there is quite a bit that will be on the pitch, and young.
Rodney Wallace played locally for college, but moves up a bit from a primary defensive role to one of the DM roles in the 3-5-2 of United. He's two goals and three assists from what is normally a withdrawn position.
Chris Pontius graduated from UC-SB and is proving that the Big in Big West is for talent. He was played on the wing and at a forward earning three goals and two assists.
Steve Zakuani we all know and love on the left wing. He burns past defenders and delivers crosses that seem to surprise his forwards, but still has two goals an three assists.
Only 1 other 21 and under player in MLS is performing at these three princes level, but he's played a few years of pro-ball already, but down in Colombia.
The Freddyain meet just plain Fred as well. These are two lineups studded with stars on offense, and we haven't even gotten to Emilio, Moreno, Quaranta, Jaqua, and that Le Toux guy.
In MLS, what teams matching up in a 3-5-2 (or 3-4-1-2) and a 4-5-1 (4-2-3-1) have this much offense? Well its simple, the original dynasty in the league in United, and Sounders FC, the young upstart that dreams of following United's lead. Number 1 offense meets number 3 defense. Number 9 offense meets number 8 defense.
Except the story here is individual talents. Tired talents. Talents that are playing on the road, where they aren't good (1-2-3 with -1 GD) facing tired talents at home on national tv with a (4-1-2 +7). This is a match where the upstart can remind the league that March HAPPENED. It was real. That XBox Pitch is ringed by 30,000 guardians.
Lineups can only be guessed, but there will be space on the wings, for the Sounders, due to the 3 defenders, expect to see Sounders run more like a 4-3-3 tomorrow, with the wing players crossing to Jaqua quite often, the key to the offense will be the runs off of that pivot, it doesn't matter who they are, just run diagonally off of the deep pivot and shoot on goal. Take advantage of the Sounders league leading SOG:Goal percentage. Take the shots, and bury United early.
Yes, this involves risk, but trust in the Defensive Triangle of Hurtado/Marshall/Keller. Prove to the league that the West is truly best, and have the #3 West smoke the #1 East. In a match littered with offensive talents, it is likely the club with the better keeper that will win.
That's an easy answer in this case.
Lastly, stats will be updated after this match. Coffee crop is keeping me fairly busy.