Friday, April 15, 2011

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders vs. Union match preview

This Saturday, the Sounders (1-2-2), will make the trip to take on the red-hot Philadelphia Union (3-1-0). Seattle comes in on a three game unbeaten streak, while the Union are looking to notch their third straight home victory.

Last year the two teams split. The Sounders victorious in the first match 2-0, and the Union taking the second 3-1 at PPL Park.

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The match features two teams who have not scored an awful lot this season. Philadelphia has only scored three goals in four matches, yet they have three wins. The difference is, the Union have been able to win with a solid defense that has produced shutouts and they have managed to turn opponents mistakes into timely goals.

One question for Seattle is the status of Fredy Montero. While he did make the trip to Philadelphia, it is uncertain if he will be available. This week he was cleared to practice and did so, but he still has a cast on his surgically repaired wrist. Montero will have to sport the cast for at least another three weeks.

The Sounders offense has not been a problem in the last two matches. Rosales and O’brian White have meshed well together, and I don’t see the Sounders rushing Montero back if he is not comfortable playing in a cast.

Keys to the Match:

1) Keep the back tidy:

Last weekend the Sounders defense seemed to be off a step. Losing their marks, and making mistakes that easily could have resulted in goals. The Union have not been an offensive powerhouse, however they have put away goals stemming from mistakes.

2) Limit giveaways in the middle:

If you look back at the goals the Sounders have conceded thus far, many have come from bad passes in the middle, leading to counter-attacks. The Sounders are a team who likes to attack with all players and while it can be dangerous, often times it leads to opponent’s breakaways. A sharp middle will allow the Sounders to make their runs forward without giving the Union any chance at a counter.

I fully expect this match to be a low scoring grind. Both defenses are solid and goals could be hard to come by. I would predict a 1-0 win for the Sounders if they can improve upon last weekend’s defensive performance.

Match time is slated for 1 p.m. and will be televised on KONG 6/16.

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