Sounders FC will face a rebuilding Club Nacional in their first dress rehearsal at CenturyLink Field
Despite finishing their preseason already and recording a tie in their first match of league play, Seattle’s opponent will use this international friendly to improve the lack of cohesiveness expected from a team going through a revamp.
Unable to reach a league title in Uruguay since 2016, “El tricolor” has gone through major changes prior to beginning this year’s campaign. From Jose Decurtex being elected as new club President to not bringing back fourteen players from last year’s roster and installing an entirely new coaching staff, there has been a lot of change recently. It has been undeniable that the three-time Copa Libertadores champions are willing to risk a slow start while the team gets acclimated in order to improve the product long term.
Nacional’s current form
Although the team has not quite fully come in sync with his strategy and concepts, newly appointed manager Eduardo Dominguez has found early success since taking over Nacional de Montevideo this season. Winning Uruguay’s Supercopa for the first time in club history over archrival Peñarol was certainly a promising start but when it comes to execution on the field it is clear the Argentine’s strategist is yet to cement his style of play.
Dominguez made that clear after a 1-1 result at Estadio Belvedere last Saturday, “a step at a time, the team is beginning to understand the idea of play and every game we get better” said the manager. He praised his players performance regardless of the circumstances, pointing out the need to play together longer to understand each other on the pitch.
Under Domínguez, “El Bolso” has tried a variety of formations, and at this time it is hard to say if they have established a specific preference, even though it appears playing with a five-man back line in which both wingbacks push the ball up the flanks from a 5-3-2 provides what the manger is looking for. Offensively it has worked, Nacional gets the ball out wide and can create plenty of opportunities. Their center midfielders are the strength of the team but defensively, there is too much space between lines, and they are constantly vulnerable to counters.
Players to watch
Gonzalo Berguessio: For a team that is currently criticized for lacking consistency in the final third, getting veteran forward Bergessio running in all cylinders could be important. Gonzalo is a highly referenced player but does not appear to be game fit quite yet as he was not a part of Nacional’s preseason. Perhaps Eduardo Dominguez will use this friendly to get this goal scorer further along.
Juaquin Arzura: The 25-year-old Argentine CM has played for River Plate, UD Almeira in Spain and was a key signing this off season, coming as a replacement for Christian Oliva who moved on to play for Calgary in Seria A. Azura is a rangy player that covers a lot of ground, is very sound defensively and can also distribute well despite having to get deep in the block constantly. Juaquin has not solidified his position in the starting rotation, therefore if he gets a chance to play at CenturyLink field he will be a player worth following.
Santiago Rodriguez: Currently Gustavo Lorenzetti is probably a bigger difference maker as CAM than this 19-year-old. However, this young starlet could be worth your admission ticket if he gets to start as he is one of the most promising Uruguayan players. Nifty foot work, good pace and vision beyond his years are some of the attributes that have him playing in Uruguays U20 team and why you should keep an eye on him Wednesday night.