A new season has dawned on us and your Seattle Sounders kicked it off with a banger of a 4-0 win over Minnesota United. A new season is full of hopes and full of fears, which means the Sounders can’t rest after a convincing win as they need to face LAFC. Here are the five things I want to see this weekend.
The enemy’s goal is down
Playing LAFC is never easy, but playing LAFC without Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi is definitely an opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of. The Sounders are still working through the kinks of a new formation, so not having to face arguably the best attacker in the league should definitely be viewed as a positive. However, it’s only a positive if the Sounders can capitalize.
Get Yeimar back
Last Friday was a hoot and a holler, but one omission from the starting lineup was a bit of a head scratcher when Brian Schmetzer chose to start Shane O’Neill over Yeimar Gomez Andrade in defense. The Sounders head coach has since explained that Yeimar isn’t injured and it was just a coaching decision for the first game of the season. Plain and simple, Seattle is better when Yeimar is on the field, even if LAFC is without their best attacking players. I’m excited to see how the back three can function with Yeimar in the lineup.
Brad Smith back to his best
I think the two players that can benefit the most from this formation change are Brad Smith and Alex Roldan. Last week, we saw Roldan flourish on the right side with his beautiful crossing. Smith was a bit lost at times offensively, which is bizarre since that’s supposed to be a strong area of his game. Perhaps it was just early season jitters, but I’d like to see Smith be more adventurous against LAFC.
More midfield domination
The highlight of Seattle’s 4-0 win was how well the midfield three worked together. João Paulo, Cristian Roldan, and Josh Atencio complimented each other’s style of play so well. LAFC is a different challenge, though. Bob Bradley’s team is known for their high press and won’t give anyone a moment’s rest on the ball. Roldan and Atencio got to flex a bit during the game against Minnesota, allowing them to roam a bit more freely. Those opportunities could present themselves this weekend against LAFC, but the midfield will need to remain disciplined.
New season, New-hou
The thing I’m most excited about is this new position for Nouhou, and if the win over Minnesota is any indication of what’s to come then there’s good reason to be excited. Nouhou playing on the left side of a back three seems to take advantage of his entire skill-set so well. He can focus on being a lockdown defender without having to think about powering forward into the offensive third of the pitch. His recovery speed helps stop opposing team’s counters. This will be needed against LAFC.