Friday, August 20, 2010

SBI's Seattle Suggestions

Nice alteration on the title there, huh? Soccerbyives has a great article up called Five things the Sounders can take from CCL loss at Marathon. Take a couple minutes, check it out, and then see my responses below.

Now, I've been very impressed with Marathon in the past. I would rank them as one of the top 5 clubs in Central America, with Saprissa, Olimpia, Arabe Unido, and Municipal making up the rest. So I don't think Seattle should be killed for this loss, even if it came at the hands of an injury-ravaged starting 11 and a horrible mistake by Tyrone Marshall. Seattle has a big game next week at home against Monterrey. If they get a win there, they're right back in the thick of things.

And now, SBI's list of 5.

1. "[I]f winning on the road is tough in MLS, it's even more daunting of a task in CCL."

So very true. Any points on the road are going to be difficult, which is partly why it hurts that Seattle had such a good opportunity and let it get away. Their other two away games, @Monterrey and @Saprissa, will be harder than this one was.

2. "[T]he Sounders have to overcome officials' calls against them."

I actually thought Seattle did a great job at this. You can argue that the ref wasn't great, but he certainly wasn't terrible and the penalty was clearly deserved. I didn't see the Sounders lose their cool, which is a welcome change from the days of Freddie Ljungberg.

3. "[T]he Sounders have to adjust to playing in cavernous and near-empty stadiums"

This seems kinda silly. Having no atmosphere is supposed to be tougher than a hostile atmosphere? I mean, they've already earned results @ Colorado, @ FC Dallas, and @ Chivas USA, right? (crappy fanbase burn!)

4. "Schmid might have to put aside his fierce loyalty to defender Tyrone Marshall and go with someone who can keep up with fleet attacking players."

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Marshall was slow and nonchalant getting back to clear the ball that cost his team a penalty. Sure he didn't mean to kick Diamond, but you can't clear a guy out with a leg sweep in the box and not expect to give up a penalty. The fact that Marshall didn't see him coming is more an indictment on his lazy play than an excuse for his foul.

5. "Five, and lastly, Schmid must keep adjusting for all the travel and busy game schedule."

Seattle does face some schedule congestion in the coming week. I'll be honest though, at this point I would go all out for the 3 points at home against Monterrey. If that doesn't work, I'm using the CCL games as opportunities for experience for the young guys like Montano and Estrada and focusing on the two competitions I have a real chance of winning.

Seattle is in a strong position to repeat as US Open Cup champs and is set up to make a deep run in the MLS Cup playoffs. Having 1 or 0 points after two games in CCL (including a home match) pretty much guarantees you're eliminated.

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