The Seattle Sounders 2021 MLS season is off on a flyer. They sit top of the table and have the league’s best goal differential. It seems like we say this every week, but tonight’s match will be a tough test as they head to PayPal Park to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Here are the five things we’d like to see tonight.
Slow down the Quakes
San Jose might take the award for the early season “most exciting team” title. While the Sounders are clearly the best team so far, and also quite fun, the Quakes’ matches have been pretty bonkers. They’re scoring a lot of goals, tying them with Seattle with 10 goals for. The focal point of their attack features Cade Cowell and, of course, Chris Wondolowski. It might be Seattle’s biggest test of the season, and that’s pretty wild to think considering they’ve already played both LA teams, Portland, and the team they faced off against in the Western Conference Finals last year.
Test the depth
This is the first three-game week of the season for the Sounders and we’ll likely get to see the squad depth in action. Brian Schmetzer has a bit of a headache here, though. It doesn’t sound like Nico Lodeiro or Josh Atencio will be available tonight and Jimmy Medranda is still listed as questionable.
I’d like to see Xavier Arreaga and Freddy Montero start this game, at a minimum. An interesting option would be to start Jordy Delem in the midfield and see what Kelyn Rowe can do at the RWB position.
Control the vibes
Look, the Sounders are still a better team than San Jose, and have been for years. But matches that have taken place in San Jose have had really weird vibes for years now. Weird stuff happens and Seattle need to put in a professional performance to control the vibes. Keep the weird at bay. Get the job done. Seattle hasn’t lost to San Jose since 2017. Let’s keep it that way.
Handle the press
Our very own Jeremiah Oshan pointed out this week that the Sounders are the most pressed team in MLS so far this season. That shouldn’t change tonight against San Jose, as they have a very intense man-marking, pressing system. Seattle’s new formation seems like it’s built to handle the press really well. San Jose seem to do this thing where they let an opponent’s CB have the ball and mark the rest of the field. All 4 of Seattle’s CBs have shown they can pick out a great pass, so that’ll be really interesting to watch.
It’s never too early to get a hashtag trending. 2021 is about living with reckless abandon and freedom after all. Raul Ruidiaz is currently second in the MLS Golden Boot race with 5 goals. Raul also has scored 6 goals in 5 games against San Jose. Do you see where I’m going with this? Let’s see Raul get a few goals tonight and place one hand on that Golden Boot trophy.