We posed three questions about the Sounders to SBNation's resident SSFC blog Sounder At Heart. Here are Dave's answers...
Q: The Seattle Sounders suffered from a bit of a scoring drought for a while there. With your big 3-0 win over the New England Revolution, is it safe to say that the drought is over and the Sounders will be a scoring machine from this point on?
A: I don't think we can say that the scoring droubt is over, but I also don't think that one goal a game is representative of the Sounders' true talent level. This should be a top 8 offense in the league, which for me to be right means that the Sounders last 17 matches they are going to go on a strong run, scorng about 1.5 a game for the rest of the year. If the Sounders score early they are going to put up goals.
Q: Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani have settled into their starting roles and are looking pretty darn good. Is there any worry about where your goals will come from in 2011 and beyond if these guys move on to bigger things?
A: I don't think that both will be gone, but with the certain addition of Blaise Nkufo (Swiss National Team), as well as Nate Jaqua and the young kids who are impatiently waiting I'm certain that the offense will be ok in 2011. That and the Sounders have one of the best General Managers in all of North American sports. If both Montero and Zakuani are gone that will be some good salary cap room and allocation from their transfers. I expect Seattle to have about 20% turnover in any given season.
Q: With the absence of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, veteran Jeff Parke has been thrust into the starting lineup. The Sounders earned a shutout over a mostly uninterested Revs side last week, but how do you think this backline will fare against the likes of Chris Pontius, Santino Quaranta, Danny Allsopp, and Andy Najar?
A: United will have a bit more speed, but Seattle will have the edge in game knowledge. Let's be real about Parke. He's been a solid MLS defender, winning Red Bulls Best XI of the Decade. He'd start for most teams, and now rather than be the 3rd CB he's starting again. Marshall can body with the best of them, so he'll get Allsopp the World while Riley and Leo get stuck on the flanks waiting for Ianni or Evans to help. That's where I'm worried. Those flanks are going to be open. It isn't that I'm not confident its just there's so much speed on Pontius/Najar that Seattle may have a bit of trouble. Then again, Seattle does not allow goals except in dead ball situations, so the key is to not foul and just slow everyone down.
For the answers that I gave to his questions about DC, follow me beyond the bump.
Q: Najar. Do I need to say more? I mean really kid is growing into this quite well isn't he?
A: Andy Najar has been the lone bright spot on a DC United team that is now 2-8-1, and coming off a shutout of the previously highest scoring team in the league, Real Salt Lake. Andy's goal in the second period of extra time in our Open Cup win over RSL was one that will live on in the memories of United fans for years to come. He's as good on the ball as that other young DC United phenom from back in the day, but he also works hard off the ball too. The other United players have said that he is the real deal, and I tend to agree.
Q: Hamid has started enough times now that I have to wonder if DC didn't make a mistake in nabbing Perkins. Thoughts?
A: With Bill Hamid and Troy Perkins, we now have a solid goalkeeper competition going on. Regardless of how well he was doing in camp, Hamid was never going to start the season as our undisputed No. 1, so acquiring a veteran goalkeeper was a necessity for United. In hindsight of course it's easy to say that United could have waited and signed Jon Busch or Kevin Hartman instead, but they didn't know that was going to be an option at the time. The team certainly did give up a lot to get Perkins back. Peter Nowak drove a hard bargain. But in the end, I'm not sure that this United team would have really been drastically better if we had Fred and Jack McInerney instead of Perkins.
Q: Lastly, who plays more home matches in Open Cup play in 2010 - DC or Seattle?
A: Haha, well I think we've got a slight advantage since we've already had two matches in the play-in rounds. But I fully expect the Seattle Sounders organization to outbid DC United for the right to host the championship match this year, if we're both fortunate enough to make it. I'm sure that the Seattle management will take it more seriously this year instead of proposing to hold the Final at 3:00 am on a Tuesday or whatever the hell they tried to pull in 2009. I think I can speak for the entire United fanbase when I say that nothing would give us greater joy than to win the Open Cup in front of 40,000 fans at Qwest this year.