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Know Your Enemy: Sounders v. Revs

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This week I teamed up with Revolution blogger Dave Katz, to take an in depth look at the Sounders v. Revs match up on Thursday at 7pm PST. I asked Dave his five questions about the game, and he responded in kind. You can check out the other half of the game preview below or here at the Revolution Offside.

Steve: First of all, what is up with Sharlie Joseph's ESPN picture? How do they know that is even him?

Dave: All I can say is that Shalrie is a G. That's basically what he looks like. You know how they do in St. Georges

S: How do you think the Rev's participation in the Superliga will affect them down the stretch? They have only played 18 league games (least in the MLS) but have also had 4 contests outside of league play. Is this positive or negative for the playoff outlook?

D: New Engalnd's Superliga bid is a positive point for the team. Although they disappointed falling short from last year's win, the international play gave younger players some good high intensity experience that will prove invaluable down the stretch, especially when considering injuries. Although the Revs got out to a weak start in MLS league play, they have played less games and have more time to play with a healthy Shalrie Joseph and recently acquired Jankauskus.


S:
Are there any favorable matchups you think the Revs can take advantage of against Seattle?

I htink Shalrie Joseph will have an edge against Alonso, but I can't stress enough the strength of NE rookie defender Kevin Alston who was drafted 10th overall in the 2009 SuperDraft. He is a solid in the defensive position, but is shockingly effective as an attacking back. Look for him to stretch the field for New England providing a offensive reinforcement from the wing.

S: Who are you most worried about in Seattle side, being that Ljungberg is sitting out?

D: Freddy Montero who is scoring just about .5 goals/app and Zakuani, MLS' 2009 number one overall draft pick are the names that come to mind. I think if the Revs can keep these two offensive powers at bay, they will have a greater chance of pulling out a road win in Seattle.

S: Finally, as the only team yet to play the expansion Sounders, what do you think are the chances they can come away with an upset? Do you have a score prediction?

D: I don't personally put a ton of weight on the Sounders as an expansion team. They are very strong and a serious threat, especially to a banged up Revs side who has proved very vulnerable and inconsistent thus far this season. I think the Sounders take this game 2-1 in a game that is hard fought. Look for great goal tending in this match keeping the score low despite a plethora of chances.

  • Check out Dave's half of the interview below

    Daver: So did Fredy molest that chick or what? i know its old news, but I never heard the end of that story. I don’t want the official record. Your thoughts on what REALLY went down.

    Steve: Basically, a woman claimed he sexually assaulted her in Bellevue (East of Seattle) and then showed up later at her home in Lake Sammamish. Well, having been to Bellevue myself more than once, I can tell you that most of what goes on at night clubs there could be considered sexual assault. Also, how did Fredy, a native of Colombia and recent arrival to the Seattle area even know where her house was or how to get there? The Sammamish area is a confusing mess of twisting roads and cul-de-sacs.

    The police dismissed the case eventually because of a lack of evidence, which was good enough for me. Fredy comes from a place where the standards of conduct between men and women (or donkeys) are vastly different. As a young, successful and wealthy athlete in Colombia, he probably is not used to being rejected by whatever woman (or donkey) meets his fancy.

    Clearly, something happened to upset the woman or give her the idea of reporting Fredy to the police. Whether or not it was full blown sexual assault or just Fredy getting a little pushy is left to our imagination. In the end, there was probably no way to prove that he had in fact shown up at the individual’s house and I don’t think soccer has reached the status in the USA where the players are exempt from or above the law (think MLB, NFL, NBA, etc.)

    Fredy is great player, but I don’t think he is really a stand up guy or very heavy on character. I have nothing to back that up, it is just the feeling I get watching his body language on the field and his conduct behind the scenes.

    D: What player is key to Seattle’s success this week?

    S: Well, with Freddie Ljungberg mysteriously ailing from memory loss and dizziness, I think it important for Vagenas to step up like he did last week against the Galaxy. He drew a red card on Beckham and basically brought the same high energy, opponent-annoying game that he has every time he has been on the field. I think last week was his best game all year and if he can build on the performance it could go a long way in locking down the Rev’s talented midfield.

    D: Qwest sold out this game and the Sounder fans have been one of MLS’ most feel good stories of the season (just beating out Beckham’s glorious return). What advantage does homefield give to Seattle?

    S: Well, it is a loud, intimidating and vengeful crowd. If opposing players foul a Sounder a bit too hard, they certainly don’t forget anytime soon. A good example was Craig Weibel in the July 11th Houston Dynamo match. After being megged by Montero, he knocked Fredy to the ground. Every time he touched the ball the rest of the game he got 103 decibels of boos in his ear. It is a loud place and teams can’t communicate, something that could hurt New England with their young defenders.

    D: Who are Seattle’s top play-makers and weakest links?

    S: Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua are the top play-makers. Of the three, I think Jaqua has been amazing with the way he can start attacks by dropping off into the midfield or over to the flanks. I had no idea he had that in his game. Another guy who doesn’t get enough credit is James Riley. He is fast coming from the back and provides very good service from the wings.

    The weakest link will be in the center defense, with Marshall out. Also, our discipline, or lack thereof, has been a major issue this year. Seattle has lost a fair amount of points because of silly, inopportune or just plain unnecessary red cards. Hopefully they can avoid such an incident in a very winnable game.

    D: Sainey or Sanna Nyassi?

    S: Sainey I guess, since he seems to play more than Sanna. He is one of the guys that showed up last year and really helped turn some eyes towards Africa as a place to recruit talent for the league. It seems to be extremely important going forward that MLS teams looks outside the US for exciting talent like this guy, at least until the youth systems start to operate a little better.

    On a side note, it is amazing how similar they look. You probably couldn’t tell them apart if it wasn’t for Sainey’s hair and Sanna’s lack of hair. I like Sanna’s speed and I think he could start for a lot of teams in the MLS right now.

    D:What’s your prediction for the game?

    S: Sounders did it against LA on the road sans Freddie, they can definitely do it at home against a weaker opponent. 3-1 Seattle.

    A few thoughts on this match:

    The Revs are coming off an off week well rested. They will boast a full healthy roster with Shalrie Joseph and Jankauskus set to play.

    The Revs most recent game resulted in a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy. Seattle’s most recent game ended in a 2-0 win over the Galaxy. A bad omen for NE I think.