UPDATE: Just saw this quote in a Josh Mayers blog post: "We have different options that we can play with if Montero can't go. We've got Rosales who can play in that position. We've got Zakuani who can play there. We could decide to start Jaqua and come with Jaqua and White up there. Estrada has done well for us in games recently -- reserve games -- so he's an option. Fernandez coming in again on the flank, allowing us to push Zakuani up. There's a number of different ways we can go. We've talked about those different options." I'll stick by my preference, but it's at least interesting that Sigi is considering moving Zakuani up top and using Fernandez. I may go as far as to say, that would be my personal preference.
With the injury to Fredy Montero and news that he would not be traveling, that forced us into some creative thinking for our projected starting lineup for Saturday's game against the San Jose Earthquakes. We decided to go with O'Brian White and Nate Jaqua up top, with Erik Friberg reprising his role as a right mid.
Dave and I's thinking on this was pretty straightforward: For all their potential warts, White and Jaqua are the closest thing to a known quantity for Sigi Schmid. No, they haven't really played together, but they have skills that are potentially complementary and could form a really interesting partnership.
The other candidates were considered, but ultimately seemed like longer shots to us. Mauro Rosales has really only played in the midfield and is probably not fit to play starter's minutes yet. Steve Zakuani has never played forward with the Sounders in a two-striker set-up. Pat Noonan is still recovering. Brad Evans just doesn't strike us as a likely option.
All indications are that the backline is fully healthy and we expect Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and James Riley to slid back in. The other big question seems to be at RM, but Sigi seems to like Friberg out there, even if we prefer to see Alvaro Fernandez.