Rather than go through our usual run down of three questions for the Portland Timbers' upcoming opponent, we have a pretty basic request of SB Nation's Seattle blog, Sounder at Heart: tell us what is going on. Dave Clark acquiesced and gives a look at the Seattle Sounders before the final regular season meeting between the Cascadia rivals.
What is happening in Seattle right now and is there any reason to expect Sunday to be completely different?
What is happening is fairly easy to answer, but that second part a Sounders fan can only look to history and their heart.
Let's say there basically five phases to soccer (I'm kind of thinking through this out loud with you guys) the attack, the transition, defense, set-play offense and set-play defense. It seems kind of logical. Right now not a single phase is going well. Now, this is MLS, so no team is going to have all portions go well at the same time, but to have all go bad, for different reasons, at once is just shattering.
Attacking set-pieces are pretty broken without Eddie Johnson who was away with the USMNT and is now out with an injury. Set-piece defense is a traditional weakness of the team. The run-of-play attack is both over-passing and not moving well enough to get men into dangerous positions. In transition the wide players are booming in crosses as if EJ is there while the central players aren't playing throughballs like they do at their best. Transition defense is usually the responsibility of Osvaldo Alonso with a bit of pressure from the rest of the non-defenders. Those other players aren't pressuring as they once did.
Then there is the defense. This is where things are most broken. Seattle gets at least one fullback forward, often both. When that happens and the transitions can't be delayed it leaves two CBs on an island. Against a speedy forward one mistake puts him against Michael Gspurning on his own. And Gspurning isn't saving those shots right now.
Everything has been broken these last two matches. Some aren't as broken as others, but it's been down right awful.
Will that be what happens on Sunday? I can't know. I have faith. I have heart. Logic says that it will get better. At this point I will only believe things are different when they are. Seattle still controls its own destiny. They have to seize it.
Bonus: Injuries/significant absences and projected line-up
Significant Absences: Shalrie Joseph (Out - injured), Leo Gonzalez (Possible - injury), Eddie Johnson (Out - USA/Injured), Brad Evans (Out - USA)
Projected Lineup (I have no projection, this is what I would do): Marcus Hahnemann; Marc Burch, Djimi Traore, Patrick Ianni, DeAndre Yedlin; Adam Moffat, Osvaldo Alonso; Lamar Neagle, Clint Dempsey, Mauro Rosales; Obafemi Martins