I will not tell Wizard of Oz jokes. At least not in the intro. Seattle with a single point will clinch the Playoffs in Year Two of their MLS life. They would continue their challenge on the Chicago Fire for the best performance in first two years of expansion. The Fire had two trophies in year one and playoffs both years. Seattle already has two US Open Cup trophies and seems likely for that second playoff trip.
Kansas City desperately needs 3 points though. This is a match that they must win, one of those "six pointers." The small converted baseball stadium will be packed, as it always is. It has a narrow pitch, and slightly shorter than typical.
What will Seattle do to get victory tonight?
1 - Be wide in angles of attack - While the pitch isn't as wide, Seattle can still use the elbows to create differing angles of attack. This should mean that Sanna Nyassi and Steve Zakuani will be cutting to interior lanes earlier, hopefully with an overlap to the outside for that option and big St. Blaise Nkufo inside the six.
2 - Feed Nkufo - He's hot, and as a commentator here said, anything that Jaqua can do on a narrow pitch Nkufo should be able to do better. His vision and control should mean that Montero would be open on drop-back passes as well. His presence can also drag a center back or two away from the action.
3 - Push Ryan Smith Wide - All that stuff that you love about Zakuani, Smith can do it too. That shouldn't be a surprise, as they are both youngsters with Arsenal pedigrees. All that trouble that right backs have with Steve, James Riley is likely to have tonight. Forcing him wide and slowing down the action will be important.
4 - Control the midfield - While the Seattle defense will face an overload due to the 4-3-3, the midfield duo of Osvaldo Alonso and Nathan Sturgis should be able to bring the ball up fairly easily. As they will usually have one player in between them and Montero. Measured passing in the central third can advance the ball quickly today. With Fredy Montero's ball control and vision we should see many moments in attack where Seattle is in a 2-3 with the attacking players. Montero and a CM in the 2 and the 3 being the Wingers and Nkufo.
KONG and 97.3FM with Arlo White
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No beer tonight due to a minor head cold.