by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. New England Revolution make the trip across the continent from Foxboro, Massachusetts to face our Sounders under the lights on Saturday Night at Royal Brougham Park, Occidental Avenue, King County, Seattle, Washington. Link up with your Green Family and make your way to the park if you can. If not, try to settle in at a viewing party whether you’re in town or someplace far away. Wherever you are, join me in raising your glasses in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!
The Good News
Andrew Wiebe of MLS.com reports that New England striker, Kei Kamara, will not be available for selection tonight as he has remained behind to be with his wife who is expecting child. As Kamara is one of the deadliest finishers in the New England side, we can be thankful for the timing, and wish the Kamaras well on the new family addition. We may see the return to fitness of Evans, Torres, and Kovar provided they can pass late fitness tests before the match. Seattle are on a decent run of form, dropping only one result in the last five (2-2-1). We were the clear victors in Los Angeles last week 0:3, with the Galaxy looking a shadow of their former selves. We went expecting a stern challenge and walked away with a clean sheet and the three points. We have only been defeated once in five matches all-time when New England is the visiting side. Our boys in Green have not lost once at home this season (1-1-0), whereas New England have found their away results turning pear-shaped more often than not (0-1-3). Although Marshall is out with injury, we can be confident in the abilities of Svensson, who has deputised well as a fill-in centre-half. Although Fisher is out, Delem seemed to settle in just fine at the left-back position last Sunday at Avalon Boulevard. If Torres can’t make it back, this may be another opportunity for Alfaro to impress at centre-half. I firmly believe that although there is fine talent in the New England midfield (Nguyen, Fagundez, and Rowe) I don’t believe any of them are the equal of Lodeiro in overall quality. In a similar vein, I believe Frei more than equal to their goalkeepers. It’s also a good sign for Seattle that the Revs struggled at home to earn a 2:2 draw with 16th placed DC United.
The Bad News
Our top centre-half, Marshall, and top left-back, Fisher are out with injury. They are joined on injury list by Nouhou Tolo who has dislocated his shoulder. The goal scoring and defending metrics are in Seattle’s favour, but only by the slight margin of two-tenths of a goal either way. We are ahead of New England, but only by one place in the table, 12th to their 13th on goal difference. Our only common opponent this season is Houston. We lost at Dowling Street 2:1, whilst our Bostonian guests defeated the Creamsicles in Foxboro 2:0. Although we waived four first team players over the winter and had a laundry list of transfers in, New England is relatively unchanged from the side they were last year. I believe this is mitigated by the Sounders’ recent return to form. But we’ll have to see. New England have only dropped one of their last four matches, and two of their last five. So over the form limit of the last five matches, we’ve only earned eight points to their seven.
Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – The likely choices are Knighton and Cropper. Knighton has the edge in experience with roughly 60 matches played in MLS. Cropper, who started against DC United last Saturday, has the pedigree of Ipswich Town FC Academy, his experience with Southampton reserves, and his time at Milton Keynes Dons. You’d have to concede the edge to Frei here.
Defence – I feel like the Revs play three at the back, as Kelyn Rowe is more of a winger than a defender. This leaves Joshua Smith, Mlinar, and Farrell as the back three. Joshua Smith is raw and newly drafted, yet New England gaffer, Jay Heaps, has seen enough in him to play him four times in the first team this season. Mlinar is your basic Euro-ringer. Most of his experience comes from playing over 100 matches in Slovenian football. Farrell is a domestic player that has spent nearly his entire pro career with New England and has nearly 130 appearances for the Revs to show for it. Slight edge to the Sounders against this group.
Midfield – This is the part of their side that has a decent amount of quality. Nguyen and Fagundez are the danger men as finishers. Nguyen has scored over 40 goals for the Revs and early on in his career was trying to break into the first team at PSV Eindhoven. Fagundez is a Uruguayan-born player who has played over 150 times for the Revs, scoring over 30 goals. Rowe is also an attacking threat, having played nearly 160 times for the Revs, and scoring nearly 30 goals. You know Rowe is quality as he was produced by Crossfire Premier, right here in Washington State. Despite all that quality, the edge clearly belongs to the Sounders midfield of Roldan and Alonso holding for Dempsey, Morris, and Lodeiro.
Forward – With Kamara attending to his paternal duties, You would expect to see Agudelo and Bunbury. Each as deadly in front of goal as the other. Agudelo would be at Stoke City FC today if he had been granted his UK work permit – either of the two times he applied for it. Although there is no mistaking the quality of these two strikers, and either of them is surely the equal of Will Bruin, You’d have to again give the edge to withdrawn centre-forward, Dempsey, and his wingers, Lodeiro and Morris.
Kelyn Rowe, the 25-year-old midfield star for New England, is a Washington native. Developed by Crossfire Premier, he was chosen 3rd overall by New England in his draft year of 2012. If only we had been able to designate him as a Home Grown Player. Alas.
Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Svensson, Alfaro, Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Morris, Bruin.
Bench: Meredith (gk), Tolo, Fernández, Mathers, Shipp, Wingo, Adekoya.
New England: Cropper, Farrell, Joshua Smith, Mlinar, Rowe, Kouassi, Caldwell, Fagundez, Nguyen, Agudelo, Kamara.
Bench: Knighton (gk), Kobayashi, Angoua, Woodberry, Tierney, Bunbury, Hollinger-Janzen.
Sounders FC –
OUT: Fisher (hamstring), Marshall (back), Tolo (dislocated shoulder).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Evans (calf), Torres (hamstring), Kovar (groin surgery).
New England –
MATCHDAY DECISION: Tierney (hip).
No suspensions for either side.
Clint Dempsey is closing in on the Sounders FC record for league goals. Fredy Montero scored 47 goals in the league for Seattle. Dempsey has scored 38, just nine goals behind.