by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Settle in for a Sunday afternoon fixture at Church Street, as Sounders FC take the pitch in muggy Central Florida, squaring off against one of the league’s newest clubs, Orlando City SC. The Sounders are in uncharted waters, having replaced their longtime manager, Sigi Schmid with his assistant, Brian Schmetzer. With 13 matches left in the season, the Sounders find themselves nine points adrift of the last Western Conference MLS Cup berth. This means our support at viewing parties in Seattle and across the nation is at a critical stage as our boys in Green try to reinvent themselves in time to take a shot at the last trophy available the ever elusive MLS Cup. As I’ve stated recently, I won’t give up on our boys so long as there is even a mathematical chance to qualify for the MLS Cup. Gather up your mates and rally the Green family in time to join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!
The Good News
Currently sitting at 15th in the league table, Orlando City are only two places above us. With only Torres and Kovar too injured for selection (pending a Friberg fitness test for today to see if he has returned to fitness from his ankle sprain), and no players suspended for this match, Seattle has most of it’s squad available for selection. Orlando City has done little better than we have in terms of recent form with both sides winning only one match out of the last six. OCSC hard man, Cristian Higuita is suspended this match, and that can only be a good thing for us. Fortunately, for us, Orlando’s attack-minded squad is equally leaky at the back with their struggling defence mired fifth from bottom in the league. With any luck and a bit of chemistry, the new boy, Lodiero will find time and space enough to create for Dempsey and Morris. Managing a draw against Los Angeles last week should be seen as a good sign, as our record against them is generally woeful, perhaps this will signal a return to form for the Sounders.
The Bad News
Orlando have not yet lost at home in 11 matches this season. This, in stark relief compared to Seattle’s dismal away record that has seen them win just once in 10 matches. Orlando City have a handful of players in their midfield that have a ton of experience playing in some of the most competitive leagues in the world. Kaká, Molino, and Julio Baptista, combine this experience with deadly finishing. We must hope that the addition of Lodiero will help solve Seattle’s chronic inability to hold the football, theoretically making us less vulnerable to Orlando City’s midfielders whose quality is well known. OCSC striker, Cyle Larin is the fifth-highest goals scorer in MLS having scored 11 times this season. Hopefully, Marshall can keep Larin in check and see to it that a potentially disastrous matchup of Larin or Kaká vs. Evans does not occur. Although Seattle have had problems finishing their chances this season (2nd from bottom in the league in goal scoring with 21 goals), OCSC have no such problems having scored 35 goals in 21 games, good enough for 8th in the league. Having lost only two of their last six matches, Orlando may be riding a wave of confidence buoyed by their recent consistency. This may set a stern test for a Seattle side desperately searching for confidence and consistency.
Orlando Manager, Jason Kreis has a record of 5-4-4 all-time against the Sounders. Schmetzer, his counterpart, has never managed against OCSC, and thus his impact on this match cannot be quantified. Your referee for today’s match is Mr. Allan Chapman.
Orlando City midfielder, Servando Carrasco played 40 times for the Sounders FC, helping to win a US Open Cup for us in 2011.
Selections for Last Match
Orlando City: Bendik, Alston, Hines, Mateos, Boden, Carrasco, Nocerino, Barry, Kaká, Molino, Larin.
Bench: Edwards (gk), Aja, Shea, Cerén, Higuita, Rivas, Baptista.
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Evans, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Morris, Valdez.
Bench: Miller (gk), Scott, Fisher, Ivanschitz, Fernández, Gómez, Anderson.
OUT: Ribeiro (back surgery), Heath (MCL sprain), Ramos (hamstring), Redding (hamstring)
OUT: Torres (ACL), Kovar (fractured clavicle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Friberg (ankle sprain).
Orlando: Higuita (accumulated bookings).
Rivas and Mateos one booking away from suspension.
Seattle: none suspended.
Orlando City SC are international partners with SL Benfica of the Portuguese League. This partnership enabled Orlando City to sign Benfica U-19 players Estrela Ramos and Rafael Ramos in 2014.