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Predicting Sounders’ Open Cup lineup harder than ever

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Gallery Photo: USOC: Sounders vs. Timbers: Photos Mike Russell/Sounder at Heart

Predicting U.S. Open Cup lineups is always tough. But what makes this one a bit more complicated is that the Seattle Sounders are coming off a full two-week break between competitive matches, only to be followed by a league match across the country three days later.

The Sounder at Heart staff discussed Sigi Schmid’s likely mindset and we couldn’t come close to anything resembling a consensus, as a good argument could be made for any number of lineups.

That said, here’s what we know for certain:

  • Schmid won’t be patrolling the sidelines. He was ejected from the Red Card Wedding and will serve a one-game suspension. Brian Schmetzer will get to manage his first U.S. Open Cup match since 2008 when he was the coach of the USL Sounders.
  • Brad Evans and Clint Dempsey are also suspended after picking up red cards in that game. Evans is only out for one game and can play if the Sounders advance, while Dempsey is going to miss at least all of this year’s Open Cup games.

All that said, here are a few of the potential options:

Reserve heavy

The Sounders have traditionally tried to mix in a few younger and lightly used players. If the Sounders opt to give their starters a rest, here’s how the lineup would likely look:

GK: Tyler Miller
LB: Dylan Remick
CB: Tony Alfaro
CB: Zach Scott
RB: Oniel Fisher
DCM: Nate Sturgis
DCM: Osvaldo Alonso
CM: Cristian Roldan
FW: Darwin Jones
FW: Oalex Anderson
FW: Aaron Kovar

The Sounders would still have a fair bit of experience here, but would definitely be giving their young guys a good run out. It’s actually very similar to the lineup Sigi used against PSA Elite in 2014, a game that came under similar circumstances.

Sprinkling in some starters

GK: Stefan Frei
LB: Dylan Remick
CB: Tony Alfaro
CB: Zach Scott
RB: Oniel Fisher
DCM: Osvaldo Alonso
DCM: Cristian Roldan
CM: Erik Friberg
FW: Herculez Gomez
FW: Jordan Morris
FW: Aaron Kovar

The big changes here are the inclusion of Frei at goalkeeper, Friberg as a center mid and Morris as a center forward. Those three are all young and fit enough to easily handle two games in four days. It would also provide a good deal of stability to the lineup. This would be closer to what the Sounders did when they played Cal FC in 2012, a game that saw Fredy Montero score two goals.

Leaving nothing to chance

GK: Stefan Frei
LB: Joevin Jones
CB: Tony Alfaro
CB: Zach Scott
RB: Tyrone Mears
DCM: Osvaldo Alonso
DCM: Cristian Roldan
CM: Erik Friberg
FW: Nelson Valdez
FW: Jordan Morris
FW: Herculez Gomez

While this isn’t quite a full A-lineup — the chances of Chad Marshall starting seem particularly thin — it leaves very little to chance. I suspect you could probably swap in Andreas Ivanschitz for one of Gomez or Valdez, as well.

Knowing Schmetzer and Schmid, though, they’ll probably come up with some other combination we didn't think of. What would you want to see?