There aren't many important matches in middle of a season when 50% of the teams make the Playoffs, and the club you follow is also in the US Open Cup and the regional Champions League. This though might be one of those. New England has as tumultus a Keeper situation as can exist in a professional league. They also haven't been that good this year, and historically aren't good on the West Coast. These are three points that can't be left behind to be picked up at a later date.
Break the Bunker - Visiting teams bunker at Qwest, and occaissionally counter. They play for the draw, or to escape with a one goal win. New England does this by nature though. They foul their opponents more than they get fouled. They get fewer shots, shots on goal, and assists than their opponents. With the Revs third keeper likely the starter I'm betting they play even tighter.
To break the likely bunker Seattle will need the kind of ball movement that they do at their best. Those 8-12 yard passes will have to not be at the feet of their teammates, but properly leading the target towards the goal. If the Sounders have an open shot, even at a bad angle, or from distance they need to put them on target. They must also have those guys doing the secondary runs in order to collect the rebounds, and to be available for a cross or dummy pass.
Freddie Ljungberg - Last season when the frustrations with Freddie were at their peak he answered by winning the Player of the Month in October. Sigi and his fiery DP need to unlock that same production they got last year. Everyone knows that the best way to stop the Swede is to knock him to the Turf. The easiest way for that to not be an issue is fo Seattle to take those dead balls and convert them into goals.
The next easiest way is for Ljungberg to use his vision and feed those long balls that got him assists last year. Sure, he'll be on the ground; he'll be in pain, but he can also get assists that way. Last week we nearly saw that connection to Montero. Almost weekly we see an opportunity for the Sounders to put a shot on goal from a Ljungberg pass, but we aren't seeing those passes become goals. Having Freddie get a goal and two assists or so heading into the break would change the tenor of the conversation about the team, and the tenor of the team itself.
Set-Play Battles - Seattle will win more set-plays than their opposition. That needs to equal more goals as well. It hasn't this year. While some of that may be service, I find that the lack of double teaming by the opposition means that every man is marked every time by the opposition. Seatle has gone to using a few more long, low cornersrder to use their speed and passing skill, as they don't have the size. This should help the offense on the set-play.
On defense Seattle's defenders need to communicate better, and maybe the addition of Jeff Parke will help that. The advantage that veterans have is that they know the game just a bit better than youngsters. Seattle's defense will average nearly 30 years in age and has basically four decades of professional experience. Hopefully that amount of experience and age does a little bit to end the weakness on set-plays.
Stop Sharlie Joseph - because its that easy ...
TV will be KONG. Radio will be KIRO FM. Last match for Arlo White until after the World Cup break. He's calling matches for the BBC.
Jeremiah will be embedded with Gorilla FC
Brougham Bitter launches today