In the trailing shadow of Hurricane Earl a team with designs on being a Cup contender faces a team in a lost season that managed once again to come in second in a secondary tournament. The Seattle Sounders will be riding a high from Wednesday's US Open Cup Semi-Final win. The New England Revolution lost in the SuperLiga Final.
Even the best central midfielder in the game hasn't been able to carry the Revolution, showing that this is a team game. Shalrie Joseph has a Goal +/- of -0.8 and a Shot +/- of -2.8. This team game needs more than one great player. New England does not have that particularly with their International Losses, Suspensions and Injuries.
What can Seattle do to gain 3 points on the Road?
1 - Unleash a Secondary Scorer - While Fredy Montero seems likely to score in any game. He needs 10 goals in 8 games to meet his 20 goal in a season mark. But if Seattle only counts on Montero for goals they are a weaker team than they can be. This would be a great game to mix some scoring from Nate Jaqua, Alvaro Fernandez and especially Steve Zakuani. Zakuani's return to scoring and not just assisting would come from him diving in at an angle from the elbow rather than towards the endline for the assist as we saw twice Wednesday night.
2 - Stop Shalrie - He's a beast, and should be in a league wide best XI in any year. He can change a game on either end, and has a knack for set-play success as well. Seattle should NOT man mark him though, as it would take one of their players out of the game. Instead I would suggest a zonal marking system shared by Osvaldo Alonso and Michael Seamon. Using Seamon's young, fresh legs to harass Joseph on the New England side of the pitch, and then when he does enter the attack have Alonso pick him up and stop the forward movement. Combining the high pressure that Seamon would be applying would likely lead to turnovers in threatening positions.
3 - More Talent Equals More Chances - New England has two players out for international duty (Sainey Nyassi, Kenny Mansally), one out due to a Red Card (Cory Gibbs) and a Keeper out for injury (Matt Reis). While Seattle does have a few players out that are current starters but not on the injured list (Blaise Nkufo, Nathan Sturgis, Sanna Nyassi) they are really only weakened significantly at the Central Midfield spot in the Arrow (Seamon is more CM/CAM than CDM/CM of Sturgis). The greater talent level though has to be converted to chances. Keeping the pace of the game up will be one part of that, and not overpassing inside the attacking 18 will be another.
Notes: Mike Fucito returns to the New England area as a native and in the 18. It would be good to see him get minutes tonight. Gillette Stadium has brand new Field Turf, finally repaints their lines, but is still dozens of miles away from Boston (which hasn't hurt the other team that plays there one bit). Weather tonight should be lower 70s, clear and windy at game time. Michael Seamon has a G +/- of 0, Shots +/- of -6.3 and a Shot % differential of +3.4% in his limited playing time. Only one New England Player as a positive +/- in either goals or shots - he's played 6 minutes.
TV Tonight is KONG
Radio is 97.3
Arlo White has the Call (did you read the interviews?)
Rooting Interest for other Matches
Philly over KC
LA over Chicago
Columbus v DC United result does not matter for Seattle
Dallas over Toronto
RSL v Red Bull result does not matter for Seattle
Chivas USA over Colorado
Houston over San Jose
THIS IS YOUR GAMETHREAD