This video preview from the cameras of MLSSoccer.com includes reports from Tukwila, CenturyLink, studio analysis and a feature on Herculez Gomez. It will also bring your spirits down a bit. Seattle Sounders FC is the underdog in the contest and clearly so. That situation is made more complicated by the possible holding back of forwards Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins due to injury. They were not the only players missing from the open media session, but they were the only two that would likely start.
Let's dive a bit deeper.
What to watch for from Seattle tonight either on FoxSoccer at 7 PM or in the stadium.
- Defending the Counter.
Key to this will be seeing which of the LB, two CMs and RB go forward and who stays back to key on the Santos Laguna attacking trio.
- Effective Switches of Attack
Seattle's goal against RSL came after it used a switch to force the opposition shape to adjust. That allowed Yedlin to dribble for space and cross. Tonight they will need to switch even faster so that the wide talents can get space to succeed.
- Shot Selection
Miracle goals are nice and all, but they are miracles for a reason. Sounders FC needs to get in close and convert. If they hammer the goal mouth and play as they did in their best halves of the season (2nd v RSL, 1st v San Jose, 2nd v Tigres, 1st v Portland and the whole game against Montreal) they will convert goals. They need at least two.
- Leadership of Hahnemann
The backline has been a bit out of sorts. Marcus can help correct that. Yesterday after practice he said that he yells to get players into the right positions, not because of sloppy passing. He wants his line to cut the attack off from proper positioning. If he can succeed at that he won't need to make quite as many saves.
It is merely leg one. The first half of a full 180. But it is a half that Seattle must dominate to give them a chance later. The road leg will be as dangerous as ever.