On Sunday the Seattle Sounders travel to take on 2020 Western Conference Finalists Minnesota United for the second time this season. Here are the five things we’d like to see.
Kelyn Rowe has been an excellent addition to this Sounders team. He’s a flexible role player who can play multiple positions, which is very handy when the best team in MLS is ridden with injuries and international absences. Rowe’s best work this season has been when he’s played in the midfield, but against the Loons he’s probably going to fill in for Alex Roldan at the RWB position. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the position, but he has a similar skillset to Alex.
Continue to dominate Heath
Adrian Heath has never beaten the Sounders. In his 9 matches against Seattle in his stints with Orlando and Minnesota, he’s lost 8 times and managed one measly draw. Heath is on a bit of a hot seat right now. Of course, Minnesota made the Western Conference Finals last season and were 20 or so minutes from making the MLS Cup final, but we all know how that played out. Sunday will be a tough match for Seattle, but I’d like to see another humiliating loss for the Loons manager.
The kids are alright
Danny Leyva, Josh Atencio, and Ethan Dobbelaere are all teenagers who have come through the Sounders academy. All three of them also have more minutes this season than Nico Lodeiro, which is sort of absurd when you think about it. All three could also feasibly play on Sunday against the Loons. Both Leyva and Atencio are almost certain to start in the midfield alongside João Paulo if Brian Schmetzer plays the trusted 3-5-2 from this season. It’s likely Dobbelaere will feature as a sub, but if Schmetzer elects to play a 3-4-3 like he did against San Jose earlier this season, we could see Ethan playing on the wing.
Lock down Reynoso
Minnesota are a one-dimensional team, but that dimension happens to be very good. Emanuel Reynoso is their talisman attacking midfielder who essentially plays as a Lodeiro-lite number ten. He lit up the league last season with 14 assists in the regular season and playoffs, but so far this year he’s been very quiet, with only 1 goal. Sorta spooky if you think about it. The Sounders can’t let this match be the game where Reynoso regains his form.
The third CB debate
It looks like Nouhou has traveled to Minnesota with the team, although the question remains is he fit enough to start. Shane O’Neill has picked up an injury and Schmetzer sort of hinted to the press earlier this week that he may not play on Sunday. So, will we see Nouhou start or will AB Cissoko continue to get gametime? I would like to see Cissoko get the nod if Nouhou isn’t at 100%. Playing alongside Xavier Arreaga and Yeimar Gomez Andrade would be an opportunity to see Cissoko play with the strongest defenders on Seattle’s back line.