There are known knowns. One of those is the LA Galaxy. This late in the season, facing them a third time in a month, Seattle Sounders fans know what they will see in the white, navy blue and gold. What Sounders fans don’t know, and probably what the Sounders themselves don’t know are more interesting questions. They can only be answered in a game, and another game and a few more games.
So these three questions are different. They are the questions for you to ponder when you watch and rewatch the match. These are the questions that will define the rest of 2016.
1 - How will the team react to Schmetzer's coaching style?
Brian Schmetzer is not a new coach, not to the players nor to the staff. But he is new to a lot of the fans. Read up on his history.
What’s important today is not formations, tactics or strategy. It’s been less than a week. Those changes will come later. On Sunday look at how the players behave. Do they react well to the signals and yelling from the sideline. Are they playing with a renewed energy? When a late-season positive swing happens after a coaching change it is because the players look at the change in a positive manner.
Schmetzer will be able to hammer home that they are Sounders. He knows our traditions and hopes. He is part of those. If the players buy-in then 2016 can be a lot of fun.
2 - What will Nico & Flaco's additions mean to the attack?
Sure, they’ve only had a couple of days, but these dudes are ready. They are both fresh and fully fit. They were late in preseason for their clubs. Maybe neither can go 90. That’s OK.
What Lodeiro can do is change how the team operates. Even without specific coaching, that’s what a player of his caliber does.
Alvaro knows what it means to be Seattle. But he’s different now - he’s bigger, he’s stronger, he’s wiser. His defense has improved. Where he was a light winger back in 2011 he’s now capable of filling in on either wing, as a 10 or even the 8.
If these two get involved quickly it’s a new era. It’s already a new era, but it’s like a different new era, ya dig?
3 - Can this team make a miracle run or are the next 13 games about 2017?
“It would take a miracle.” - Miracle Max.
And then the Man in Black, Fezzick and Inigo take out dozens of guards and free the princess.
The road to making 2016 relevant again is difficult. It starts with a single paving stone, and then another, and another, and another. For the rest of this year to matter it must include a win over the LA Galaxy. It will take many more than that, but today needs to be a win.
Watching a team focused on youth can be a lot of fun. You know what’s more fun? Watching a team kick some serious ass. If the Sounders can adjust to Schmetzer quickly, can integrate Nico e Flaco quickly, can energize Deuce then they can kick some ass.
I’m ready to watch some ass kicking soccer again.