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Three Questions: Loons v Sounders

I spoke with Mark Kastner of SounderAtHeart about tomorrow’s game.

Ozzie Alonso during a scoreless draw between Minnesota United and the Los Angeles Galaxy
Tim C McLaughlin

The Sounders travel to Minnesota to take on their former star Ozzie Alonso and an MNUFC team that has two shutouts in a row.

EPL: Roldan’s red card was appealed going into this weekend. How massive is it to have a midfielder like him available for selection at Allianz?

SAH: Roldan has been one of the Sounders best players this season. The likes of Nico Lodeiro, Victor Rodriguez, Jordan Morris, and Raul Ruidiaz are all impressive in their own right, but I think Roldan is as important to this team as any of them. Let’s put it this way: Cristian Roldan is so good that he made Ozzie Alonso expendable. The way the Sounders play requires Roldan to be everywhere all at once, and he does a great job of it. It’s no secret that the Sounders love to build up on the left, through Brad Smith, Rodriguez, and Lodeiro. Having Roldan roam the midfield as a free No. 8 gives the Sounders an outlet in attack as well as someone who can break up counters when Seattle loses possession. Having him back while Gustav Svensson is sidelined with an injury is a huge plus and will allow Seattle to retain their style of play and their shape, which is key to them winning.

EPL: What has is been like having Jordan Morris back this season? What does he bring to the 2019 team and how does that improve your squad?

SAH: Having Morris back this season is everything the notorious cliche says it is because, “he’s like a new signing.” Obviously, having the 2016 Rookie of the Year and USMNT player back is a huge plus, but he’s actually playing a different position than he used to. Once the Sounders signed Raul Ruidiaz last season, they almost instantly became one of the most terrifying offenses in the league. But, at times, teams could stiffen up and sit deep and cause Seattle all sorts of spacing issues. With Morris back this year, playing on the right side, that issue is mitigated by having a player that can break the lines when he needs to. While the lineup sheet says he’s playing “right-mid”, expect him to float around and play in the spaces that Ruidiaz* creates.

(*If Ruidiaz plays)

EPL: Injuries have hit the Sounders hard so far this season. Nouhou, Marshall, Ruidiaz, Bruin, Svensson and Rodriguez are all on the injury list for this weekend. Who do you expect to play and who do you expect to be out? Additionally, how does the team move forward being plagued by injuries?

SAH: Only Svensson is said to be out long term, according to Garth Lagerwey this week. But, the Sounders are notoriously close to their chest with injury information. I’ll play it conservative and say that 2 of them start, Ruidiaz and Marshall. Nouhou should definitely make the bench, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruin and Rodriguez are there as well.