Life without Fredy Montero will start this weekend, hopefully only this weekend due to his injury and recovery. Tomorrow the lineup card will be posted, and you'll see who we expect Sounders coach Sigi Schmid to start as his two forwards, but today let's just look at what could happen. First let's look within Sigi's Arrow, second at changes that could be inspired by San Jose Earthquakes stadium and then by just outright let's do something different.
Same for Same
Lamar Neagle - Once seen as the back-up to James Riley's back-up back in '09 Neagle is now seen as WF and RW type player with a bit of a scorer's touch. Ok, a lot of the touch at lower levels, but his time with the Sounders has been limited to sub play so far, and though he may have more of those intangibles (heart, desire, etc) than Fredy Montero he certainly doesn't have the skill on the ball.
David Estrada - He is on the roster. He's a withdrawn forward by trade. He has decent footwork and a bit of speed. He's also still developing and like Miguel Montano is a player for which the Reserve League exists.
Injuries rule out Mike Fucito at this time. Roger Levesque is obviously seen as a sub in many roles, not a starter in this. Pat Noonan is not going to start.
Buck Shaw is smaller
O'Brian White and Nate Jaqua Paired - Seattle used the twin towers as a prevantive measure last year. But that was with two slower types. OBW could play as a runner off of Nate's target and would force odd decisions on set-plays with two large bodies in the box. This would also change the way Seattle crosses the ball from their more typical low trajectory at the feet of runners (hopefully) to the head of either of a near/far post pairing with either the other wing or the center mid there. With a smaller stadium Seattle could go with a the larger bodies in the middle as speed is a little less important.
Now for Something Completely Different
Mauro Rosales - Certainly we've all been thinking of him as an attacking mid. But he does have some time as a forward, even as recently as '09 with River Plate in their 4-3-1-2. His energy probable wouldn't last a full game but 60 minutes to start by a man who clearly wants to show that he is not done with his career might just be that inspiration, although Seattle would lose his one touch crosses from the flank.
Steve Zakuani - Anyone else remember Akron in '08? They were merely good then, not OMG amazing. They were fueled by a certain young striker named Zakuani. And while he is the left midfielder of the present and future Seattle is a lot deeper on the wings than at forward. Overall this would be a defensive improvement (mainly by who ever plays left) but it would also mean that Seattle's offense would continue to funnel through its best attacker on the pitch.
Sigi has choices for his game without Montero. Which do you prefer?