With D.C. United's game tonight against Seattle Sounders FC, we reached out to Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart to get the lowdown on all things rave green. For my answers to Dave's questions, pop on over to Sounder at Heart.
B&RU: How much of the Sounders struggles to began the season have been the result of the late sale of Obafemi Martins?
SaH: Most, but not all of them. While the downfall of Clint Dempsey is mostly related to his lack of a dynamic partner like Oba the fact is that several other attacking weapons are failing too. Nelson Haedo Valdez is probably the best non-scoring forward in MLS. The thing is Seattle needs a scoring forward now that Oba is gone and Clint is a shell of himself. There are times when Andreas Ivanschitz looks like a competent #10. This year those times are much less frequent. He's now more like a poor man's Mauro Rosales.
Then there was the gamble that the FO took when they dumped Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett and Lamar Neagle. Now the depth players are all youngsters without a history of success, and Herculez Gomez who is no longer a goal scoring threat.
The only bright side in the attack is Jordan Morris.
B&RU: There have been plenty of comparisons made between Chad Marshall and Bobby Boswell these past few seasons, and both are playing inconsistent soccer for a variety of reasons right now. How important is he to Seattle rebounding and is their a plan B if he can't?
SaH: Outside of the penalties against Chad Marshall (an odd not quite collision with Blas Perez and a tug on Ryan Hollinshead during a dead ball) he has been the most consistent Sounder. Not only is Marshall playing near the level when he won his third Defensive Player of the Year award, but this time the Seattle defense is quite good. They're fifth in goals against, about fifth/sixth in expected Goals Against and those both include an absurd four penalties against with two of those being complete fabrications.
If Chad can't go than Seattle will be without their top pairing (Brad Evans and Marshall). Since there is a slim chance that they don't have Evans, though he is cleared, they could start both Zach Scott and rookie Tony Alfaro. So while the defense on the season is quite good it could be bad against DCU.
B&RU: After all of the hype surrounding his entrance to the league, how would you grade Jordan Morris so far?
A four-game goal-scoring streak is impressive. That tied the MLS rookie record. He's also tied for the Sounders MLS rookie season scoring record. When he's on, he's as good a non-DP forward as this league has. But, like all kids, and he's still just a kid at 21 with just over 1000 pro minutes under his belt. And, unlike the plan, he's now the first or second scoring option. Rather than growing into game-pressure it is on his every touch. If Morris doesn't score against D.C. there's no clue as to who else can do that.
If there is one thing that is clear, it's that Jordan has more pressure right here and now than we would for Werder Bremen. He has a month where he is the Seattle Sounders offense. His hometown club is having their worst MLS season and he must be the one to rescue it.
SaH: Stefan Frei; Joevin Jones, Tony Alfaro, Brad Evans, Tyrone Mears; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan; Erik Friberg; Andreas Ivanschitz, Jordan Morris, Aaron Kovar
Chad Marshall is still questionable and Herculez Gomez doesn't look like he has the legs to start two matches in less than a week.