Opposing Views: Will The Seattle Sounders FC Goal Fest World Tour Continue?

Brad Evans Seattle Sounders FC

Photo Courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC Twitter / @soundersfc

It’s Sounderpalooza and the recipe is set for a rout at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night when the Western Conference leading Seattle Sounders FC host the Philadelphia Union, who sit two points off of the Eastern Conference floor. Seattle has been on an absolute tear lately scoring 13 goals in the past four matches, led by the attacking combination of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins who have either scored or assisted on 10 of those 13 goals.

Seattle will be given a boost in the starting XI as Sigi Schmid indicated that Brad Evans will start for the first time since his calf injury sustained back in March at the hands of Toronto FC. Evans has been brought back slowly into the fold by Schmid and company to keep him from pushing too hard, too soon. It was the smartest way to bring back a player such as Evans considering that he is also fighting for a spot with the United States Men’s National Team for the 2014 World Cup.

The slow approach to Brad Evans’ return was also made easier by the play of former Mexican international Gonzalo Pineda. He did struggle a bit defensively but that was fixed by limiting the runs forward by Osvaldo Alonso. Pineda showed that he is very talented at set-piece delivery which could be key in earning him more appearances off the bench when a goal is needed late in the season.

It will be very interesting to see the approach that Sigi Schmid takes going into this match on Saturday night. The Sounders have a very interesting stretch of matches in the next two weeks. After the Union match, Seattle has a Western Conference showdown at CenturyLink Field against FC Dallas on Wednesday night before traveling to Gillette Stadium on Sunday to square off with the New England Revolution. Does Sigi need to consider limited minutes for some key players?

This match could not have come at a better time for Seattle; they have 13 goals in the last four matches as mentioned earlier but their scoring conversion rate is insane during that period.  The Sounders had five goals from 18 shots on target after the first four matches which translates to a 28 percent conversion rate; they have 13 goals from 30 shots on target in the last four which is a 43 percent conversion rate. They are scoring one goal every 2.3 shots on target.

On the flip side, the Philadelphia Union have allowed 11 goals from 34 shots on target in their nine matches for a 32.4 percent conversion rate. Philadelphia’s defense is pretty solid when you consider that have only allowed 11 goals in nine matches but they have not played an offense as dynamic as the Sounders this season; that includes you Portland. New York has a good attack but they do not have the attacking depth that Seattle does.

My colleague Phil Naegely goes to school in Pennsylvania and follows the Union, so I proposed that we add a little feature to our individual match previews this week. We exchanged three questions about the other club with each other. Here are my questions with Phil’s answers concerning the Philadelphia Union; His questions and my answers will appear in a Union focused piece later this morning.

Matt: Expectations were set very high in Philadelphia with the off-season acquisitions of Cristian Maidana, Vincent Nogueria and Maurice Edu yet the Union has started off slowly in 2014. How long can the front office tolerate lackluster results before a managerial change is necessary?

Phil: I think the Union need to start turning around their season or else John Hackworth could be gone sooner than later. However, he recieved a vote of confidence earlier this week from the Nick Sak, which didn’t please many Union fans. This slow start wasn’t expected with all the off-season moves they made.

Matt: Clint Dempsey is on fire right now, I think we can agree on that but the supporting cast of the attack (Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle, Kenny Cooper, etc) is playing at a high-level as well. How does Philadelphia approach this match defensively taking all of these attacking pieces into consideration?

Phil: The Union can not get caught ball watching this week. Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, etc. will punish them profusely. Offensively, the Union need to somehow find a way to break a tight Seattle defense, which is surprising to say given Sigi Schmid’s uncertainty at the beginning of the season.

Matt: I was very surprised to see that the Union had traded Jack McInerney when that news broke last month. As a person who follows the Union, what was your opinion on the deal? Do you feel like the Union are a better club with Andrew Wenger?

Phil: I think the trade speaks about the team’s long-term plan. Andrew Wenger’s contract is longer and won’t cost as much to retain either. This move brings in a player who I believe fits more into the Union’s system. McInerney is more of a poacher which doesn’t fit as well into the Union’s tactics. Lastly, this trade looks like it frees up money and energy for the Union to resign Amobi Okugo. If McInerney was still in Philadelphia, the club would have had to consider if they wanted to retain both or one of the two.

Matthew Evans is an MLS writer for Stoppage Time Soccer with a primary emphasis on all things Cascadia. “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google

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