1. Don’t over-rotate the lineup
This will be the second game in four days with another match looming on Sunday. It’s sensible that the Sounders will rotate some players, but their focus should be on this game against a in-conference opponent, as opposed to Sunday’s road game against D.C. United. We’d love to see a full compliment of starters, but if they’re going to rotate we hope that it’s limited, with an eye on giving them time off between now and the Sept. 29 match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
2. Solidify the No. 2 spot in the West
The Sounders need to do everything possible to ensure as many home playoff games and to stay as far away from LAFC as possible. That begins tonight. A win would all-but mathematically ensure their playoff spot and would give them a seven-point cushion on the No. 4 spot, which means delaying a matchup with LAFC until the conference finals. A win also keeps Seattle at least even on points with everyone in the East except New York City FC.
3. Dispel the ‘most dangerous lead’ narrative
As great as it has been to see the Sounders scoring like they have been — 13 goals in their past four home games — they are making life on themselves a lot harder than they need to. The Sounders have now blown 2-0 leads in each of their past two home games and have failed to hold leads in three straight at home. What if they actually build on the 2-0 lead this time?
4. The strong defensive performance we’ve been waiting for
The defense has been a bit of a mess, but you know that. The Sounders last played FC Dallas on June 1, where they tied a MLS record by allowing two own-goals in a single game. Since then, they’ve conceded 28 goals in 14 games. If the Sounders want to go deep in the playoffs, they need to be strong defensively....at least at home, where they’ve now given up 13 in their last five.
5. Another step forward by V8R
Seeing Victor Rodriguez on the pitch again was an absolute joy. It’s still probably asking a bit much for him to be ready to start right now, but we’d love to see him get a few more minutes and build off what he did last game. If they can get him healthy and in good form by the playoffs, he could be the Sounders’ X-factor.