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3 Questions with Sounder at Heart

Ahead of tonight’s match against the Sounders we spoke with Dave Clark of SAH to get the scoop on the Loons opponents

July 18, 2021 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United midfielder Emmanuel Reynoso tries to get past a defender during a match against the Seattle Sounders at Allianz Field. (Photo by Tim C McLaughlin)
  • E Pluribus Loonum: Seattle finished last season 2nd in the Western Conference, 3rd in MLS, Qualified for the Playoffs and CCL, finished Runner-Up in the Leagues Cup, but we’re bounced out in the first round. What we’re you’re expectations for the Sounders this season?

Sounder at Heart: After bringing back nearly every significant player, adding Albert Rusnák as a free agent, and getting both Jordan Morris and Nicolás Lodeiro (mostly) back from injury the expectations are high. This team is regularly at the top of the preseason rankings and the hype machine around them is bigger than ever. There were a couple of questions early — how would they re-adjust to using a 4-2-3-1 and would all that attacking talent be able to share the ball? Those questions weren’t answered well.

  • EPL: Compared to last season the Sounders have started the season in the polar opposite manner, being 1-2-1 (W-L-D) after four matches. How do you feel about the start and can the Sounders rebound as the season goes on?

SAH: A couple of injuries and the inability to get the offense going in league play hurt the early-season record. They looked their best hosting Motagua and Club León, so there’s reason to think that prioritization of the Concacaf Champions League has hindered MLS play a bit. Plus, whenever two recent Best XI players go down with short-term injuries not many MLS teams do well, no matter how many other All Stars and Best XI remain healthy. With Nico and Raúl Ruidíaz able to play Saturday the Sounders could start a run soon.

  • EPL: What was Seattle’s biggest loss and biggest addition over the off-season and how will it effect the team?

SAH: The biggest offseason loss was Shane O’Neill. He was the 4th CB for Seattle and somehow was the 9th most used player on the squad. He’s now the 9th most used player for Toronto, which may just mean that he’s getting back to the form that put him in two national team pictures. But he was just a great backup. Losing a good backup shouldn’t be too much of a loss and with former Defiance players AB Cissoko and Jackson Ragen ready to pick up minutes now that Shane is gone things have been fine.The biggest addition? I’m going to not go with Rusnák, the most significant free agent signing in MLS history, but instead Jordan Morris’s return from his second ACL injury. Rusnák can mimic Lodeiro and João Paulo, but doesn’t really change how Seattle plays. Morris shifts how any team is able to play. His speed is dimension changing, adding an element that the Sounders don’t have without him.