(Editor’s note: Prior to each Revolution match, New England Soccer Today will invite a reporter who covers the Revolution’s upcoming opponent to provide greater insight on what to expect on gameday.)
This week, Steve Clare from Prost Amerika was kind enough to share his insight on the Sounders and what the Revolution can expect when they face them Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
New England Soccer Today: Steve, tell me something: what is going on with Seattle? They started off red-hot, going 7-1-1. Since then, they’re winless in their last seven. What gives?
Steve Clare: There has been a spectacular loss of form to key players, most notably Mauro Rosales. His bonus strength is that he makes other players better. With Rosales struggling, all around are lesser. At the back, Marc Burch and Jeff Parke’s form has dipped. Too much has been asked of Zach Scott, ostensibly a squad player. Fredy Moreno has blown more cold than hot and other sides have began to read a somewhat predictable Eddie Johnson. Shall I chuck in needless red cards and injuries?
You were in Portland on Sunday, where the Sounders lost 2-1 to the Timbers. How much of a letdown was that in such a high-profile rivalry game?
It was more a let down for the fans than anything. The internet banter between the fans gets pretty intense. The players feel that they have let those fans down. The away locker room in Portland was about the most traumatised one I have ever been in.
Despite their recent failures, what, if anything, actually has gone right for the Sounders?
Eddie Johnson has shown glimpses of quality; for proof check his goal in Portland. Barring the Montreal game, Meredith and Weber have shown they are good back ups in goal. Alonso may have learned from his crude challenge on Cole Grossman that he is not above the law and become a more disciplined player. And Alex Caskey. But really, not very much.
What do you make of the rumors of Fredy Montero’s possible departure?
I don’t believe anything I read on the internet about transfers to come, even on my own site! That said the window just opened and I feel Sounders will move to strengthen the centre back slot.
How much of an impact do you think Tuesday’s Open Cup game will have on Saturday’s contest?
Probably less than if Seattle had lost it. Schmid won a victory in that he escaped unscathed while resting some key players. I’m not sure the impact will be that large.
Which unsung performer should the Revs be wary of come Saturday?
Alex Caskey if he plays. Schmid has asked plenty of the young man and he is one of the few who has not let Sounders down. He wasn’t used on Tuesday so expect to see him restored. He goes and finds the ball when the team is struggling.
What are some of things Seattle will try to do on Saturday to stack the odds in their favor, especially without Montero at their disposal?
There was another on field skirmish in San Jose so I don’t expect them to go all out and disrupt the Revs, after the scenes from Portland were broadcast nationwide. My gut is they will just take this attitude – “All things being equal, we are as good a set of players as the other side. Let’s show it.” With Montero absent, there are few options for tactical jiggery-pokery offensively. Schmid is wise and the conclusion should be that you play your way out of a slump, rather than look for temporary solutions game by game. They haven’t become bad players.
Steve Clare is a Seattle-based writer whose Prost Amerika website has been covering global football since 2005. He is the current President of The North American Soccer Reporters.