SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. DC UNITED – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s been half a month since our triumph at Commerce City. Hopefully, the international break will not function as a momentum killer. It is founding MLS club DC United that make the cross-continental trip to the Evergreen for a showdown under the lights at Royal Brougham Park. A midweek evening fixture against a last place side will prove to be just as much of a benchmark contest as if we were playing a top five side. If all goes by the numbers, we can look forward to a Sounders victory. A win would also make the second time this season we’ve won two matches in a row and would also make us unbeaten in the last four matches. So there’s an odd element of pressure this Wednesday night, facing arguably the weakest side in the league. Gather up the Green Family where ye may, as we strap in for the most unlikely high-pressure fixture yet. Link up with the ECS at the ground, or if you haven’t the means or proximity, head to your local Sounders-friendly pub for a viewing party. They will hear our voices in The Haight. They will hear our voices in Pill Hill. They will hear our voices in Mountain View. They will hear our voices in the Brougham End. Our numbers are legion! Before the kick-off on Wednesday night, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

leerdam
Will we see the new boy, Leerdam, in the team versus DC United?

The Good News
Sounders are in decent form, having only lost two of their last eight matches. If the result in Colorado is any indication, the Sounders’ goal scoring touch has returned. In addition, we are facing bottom-of-table DC United, arguably the weakest side in the league. Kovar has impressed of late with his scorching free kick goal in the US Open Cup loss to San Jose and continued his positive play in the friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt. Mansaray got a runout against Frankfurt as well and looked sharp and fit having been recalled from his loan at FC Cincinnati. We have yet to try out the new boy, Leerdam, who was acquired from Vitesse Arnhem only weeks ago. This is an excellent opportunity to see where Leerdam’s fitness level is and how he will adjust to MLS league football. The all-time record between the sides heavily favours our Sounders at 7-2-2. We’ve only lost once at home this season, whilst our opponents have only won two out of 10 matches outside the Nation’s capital. DC United are on crap form, having taken points in only two of their last seven matches. Sounders are scoring over half a goal more per match than the Red & Black, with United averaging under a goal per match. Bill Hamid is arguably the best goalkeeper United have, and he is currently with the Yanks in the Gold Cup. United have also lost a veteran defender, Bobby Boswell, to injury.

The Bad News
The defence for both sides have been extremely leaky this season. Should the match open up, becoming breakneck and sloppy, it could make a positive result for the Sounders more difficult to achieve. Alonso is out for certain with a knee injury. We lose a great deal of bite in the midfield, leadership, and experience when Alonso is on injury list. We have some able players to deputise for him, but I think we can all safely agree, no one in the team can truly replace him. Marshall, Adekoya, and Wingo are also nursing injuries, with their availability subject to a late fitness test. Dempsey and Morris are currently part of the Yanks’ selection playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and are unavailable for selection. Thus we are missing two of our deadliest finishers. Fisher is part of the Jamaican selection for the Gold Cup and will be unavailable for selection.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Worra, 24, is DC United’s apprentice goalkeeper. He normally backs up first choice United and fringe United States international goalkeeper, Bill Hamid. Hamid has been selected to the Yanks for the Gold Cup, so Worra will have to do the job for United. Worra has made three appearances for United this season and has made 17 appearances for them. This constitutes the entirety of his professional experience in MLS. His previous clubs include Seacoast United Phantoms, Carolina RailHawks, and Richmond Kickers. Worra played his university football at New Hampshire (NCAA).

Defence – Odoi-Atsem, 22, is a domestic product and has played only six matches of MLS football. Birnbaum, 26, has played 84 times for United and is a mainstay in their back four. Birnbaum has scored five goals during his tenure at United and has earned 11 United States caps. Opare, 26, a Ghanian national, has played 41 times for United and was previously with Los Angeles Galaxy for a total of 53 MLS appearances. Kemp, 26, another product of domestic football, has played 97 times for United and is a regular in the first-team.

Midfield – Jeffrey, 27, comes to United by way of Club Brugge’s youth academy and FSV Mainz in Germany where he played 87 times for the reserves. He has appeared 55 times for United States youth sides and has played 60 times for United, scoring 5 goals. Harkes, 22, has appeared 17 times for United in his first professional year. He is a regular in the first team and is the son of former United States international, John Harkes. Sam, 32, is an English national who has notably played at Charlton, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday, Southend, Leeds, and Notts County and a previous tenure with New York Red Donkeys before arriving in the District of Columbia. Sam has played nearly 30 times for United and features a total of 135 matches of MLS experience. This includes 24 goals. Acosta, 23, is an Argentine national developed by Boca Juniors. He later moved to Estudiantes before making his way to the American capital. He has appeared 47 times for United appearing regularly in the first team, scoring seven goals. Nyarko, 31, is a Ghanian national produced by Kaaseman and his university football, played at Virginia Tech (NCAA). Nyarko has played 38 times for United scoring five goals. He has 234 matches of MLS experience.

Forward – Brown, 26, a Jamaican national, has played mainly domestic football in the United States with notable stays at Valerenga and Shenzhen. He’s played only four times for United but has 66 matches and 21goals of total MLS experience, most of which was acquired at Colorado Rapids. No matter where he has gone, Brown has successfully scored goals at a regular rate.

Familiar Faces
DC Forward, Lamar Neagle, was born in Tacoma, WA and played for the Sounders 116 times scoring 26 goals. Winger, Sebastien Le Toux, played 75 times for the Sounders, scoring 25 goals.

Squads
Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Evans, Tolo, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Jones, Svensson, Roldan, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Adekoya, Bruin, Mansaray.

DC United from: Worra, Klenofsky, Kemp, Odoi-Atsem, Franklin, Opare, Birnbaum, Robinson, Korb, Sarvas, Sam, Acosta, Nyarko, Neagle, DeLeon, Durkin, Harkes, Jeffrey, Vincent, Buscher, Ortiz, Le Toux, Brown, Rolfe.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Alonso (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Marshall (foot), Adekoya (ankle), Wingo (ankle).

DC United –
OUT: Mullins (knee), Boswell (groin).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Vincent (knee), DeLeon (abdominal injury).

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
Seattle striker, Victor Mansaray’s loan side, FC Cincinnati, knocked Columbus Crew out of the US Open Cup. What an upset!

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