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Sounders' July has short roster, but points available

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After losses to the Timbers (twice), the Union and the Earthquakes there is some cause for concern. The largest issue is the absence of the three Designated Players. Two of those will not be back in July. Clint Dempsey is with the United States for the Gold Cup, as is Brad Evans. Obafemi Martins return should be in early August. Osvaldo Alonso should be back soon, but maybe not this week.

And Seattle Sounders FC will also lose Marco Pappa to Gold Cup duty. He and Guatemala should make the knockout rounds, as Mexico is the only power in their Group (Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba are the other two in Group C).

It's a rough month due to injury and international absences. There are some bright spots. Friberg is coming. The lack of advancement in the Open Cup means a bit less roster pressure.

Your biggest reason for hope? The opponents are bad. Using Sagarin's recency ratings (and HFA), American Soccer Analysis' team expected Goal Differential and Sounders-opponent points per game played by home/away there appears to be a chance at seven points.

Opponent Date & TV Field Sagarin Prediction xGD SFC-opp HomeField PPG adv Point Estimation
DC United 3 July on UniMas CenturyLink 0.30 0.41 0.89 3
Chicago Fire 11 July on JOEtv Toyota Park 0.07 -0.10 -0.39 0
Colorado Rapids 18 July on Q13 Fox CenturyLink 0.86 0.23 1.22 3
Montreal Impact 25 July on JOEtv Stade Saputo -0.36 0.44 -1.06 1

If during the Gold Cup seven points are snagged (mostly due to Homefield Advantage) the club will tread water, and then the glorious August of CONCACAF Champions League and Clinfemi getting all drifty. Even five or six points would be a sign that Sounders are still in the Shield race. Those hopes probably end if Sigi can't coax his B+ squad into more than four points.

The race for the Shield is fairly deep. DC and TFC are part of it from the East and six teams from the West earning 1.50 PPG or more. There's also the Galaxy, doing what they do.