Seattle cruised to a 1-0 win on Saturday, dumping the Philadelphia Union and taking three points in the process. A win on Wednesday over Dallas would bring the Sounders into a tie for first place in the league table with San Jose and Salt Lake, with games in hand.
Seattle won this game with a field that occasionally saw six reserves occupying the entire left side of the formation. Between David Estrada, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch, and Bryan Meredith, Seattle pulled an LA Galaxy this week and still dominated their opposition. In fact, much of the best play ran through the left, and Rose and Caskey both had some rather threatening attempts that all but hit the back of the net.
The winning goal came through play on the left, with Fredy Montero winning the ball and feeding it to a wide open Rosales on the right, who punched a pin-perfect shot past Zac Macmath (ironic name for an athlete?) and two defenders to the far post and in. That goal would stand on its own.
The defense saw no drop off with Burch and Ianni filling in for Leonardo Gonzalez and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado respectively, allowing only a single shot on goal. Part of that must be credited to a Union side that has been entirely punchless this season without fan favorite Sebastian Le Toux. But the fact is that regardless of the lineup Sigi has picked, and regardless of who tends the goal, Seattle has only allowed three goals in eight matches (now best in the league), including a penalty kick and two nearly indefensible shots (slash crosses).
Sigi proved the utmost confidence in his reserves in this match, which will serve him well going into the final two matches of this five game stretch. Key players (Fernandez, Hurtado, Gonzalez, Johnson, Evans) got some valuable rest coming into arguably the two toughest opponents, Dallas and Salt Lake. Dallas has failed to lose a match at home this season, and Seattle has historically had trouble in Texas. There's a good chance they will head to the lone star state with one or more of Montero, Johansson, Rosales, and (most likely) Parke on the bench. Will Sivebaek see a start? Will we see Hurtado-Ianni on Wednesday, or on Saturday? Will Osvaldo Alonso ever get a day off? Does he need one? There are a lot of questions as Seattle goes into it's ninth match of the year (and fourth in twelve days), but one question that needn't be asked is whether or not the Sounders have the depth to compete regardless of the starting XI.