Sounders visit Cincy
(Photo Credit: @SoundersFC)
I think Schmetzer said it best when he told the media after the game that was some of the best soccer he has seen the Sounders play in a very long time. I have to agree! The Sounders absolutely dominated RSL, never really looking threatened. The combination play turned every possession into a highlight-reel worthy show, the defense was stifling, and the fire to win every ball was very apparent. It is still very early, but if the Sounders play like this every week I am not sure there is a team in the league who can touch them. That said, maybe RSL and Colorado just aren’t very good. The real tests come in the next two weeks with a road trip to Cincinnati and a home match against LAFC. Let’s look at what we can expect for this week!
Cincinnati don’t suck: It’s true! Cincinnati seem to be the real deal this year. While they only managed to draw against Orlando this week, that was not from a lack of dangerous attack. Especially down their left side with Barreal and through the middle with Acosta, Cincinnati have created significantly more chances then their 2 goals on the season would suggest. Key to this week will be preventing quality service from Barreal and Acosta, because the Lions will not keep missing opportunities as they get sharper throughout the season.
Sounders are feelin’ themselves: Back heels, flicks, 20-pass sequences. This game had all of the marks of a team that is flowing. Heber has MISSED more big chances than most teams have had this season, and he still has two goals. Raúl Ruidiaz has only managed to see 10 minutes of game time, and the Sounders still have put 6 on their opponents. And most importantly, the Sounders are (knock on wood) completely healthy at the first-team level. I would expect to see Ruidiaz play about 45 minutes this weekend to ease him back into game shape. With the way Seattle is creating chances though, Raúl still might get a brace.
Jorstian Mordan is thriving: Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan took Seattle’s favorite bromance to the middle east this winter, and apparently decided that they really didn’t need anyone else in their lives as they both signed 5 year contracts, likely making them Sounders for life. Add in a dash of younger brother Alex serving up dimes, and you have a recipe for outside chaos that few teams can handle. For years, the strength of Seattle has been defined by the quality down the spine of the team, with Nicolas Lodiero and Raúl Ruidiaz doing most of the heavy lifting. But now we see a fearsome foursome of the Roldans, Morris, and Nouhou creating opportunity and eliminating threats on the wings. It will be very interesting to see how this aspect of the team can handle a more talented attack this week.
Player Watch: Alex Roldan earned Player of the Match and Team of the Match Day honors this week with two assists on the night. This week, I expect him to need to step up defensively to prevent Barreal from adding to his team high 5 chances created. If Alex can lock down the right side, and the center midfielders can make Acosta have a bad time, the Sounders will be singing Jingle Bells at the whistle.
Predictions: Aaron definitely won last week, calling a 2-0 victory for the Sounders. Season totals are now 2-1.
Aaron: I see the Sounders pushing down on the gas harder, and a hungry Raúl Ruidiaz scoring a brace. Sounders win 3-0.
Zach: I am not as optimistic, and I think this is the team that gives Seattle a little trouble. I’ll call a 1-1 tie on the road this week. Which, to be fair, is a quality result. Bet of the Match: I think Raúl starts this match, and is a hungry flea. Fanduel is giving +750 for the Sounders to score two in the first half, and I like those odds a lot.