Dynamo Theory: For most teams the departure of an Eddie Johnson would hamper their ability to compete, however the Sounders still look poised to move up in the Western Conference with a serious shot at contending for an MLS Cup. What moves in particular do you feel were made over the offseason to bolster those chances?
Dave Clark: It's hard to pin it to just one move since Seattle churned so many players out. I'll stick to two though. Kenny Cooper is capable of putting up the goal totals that Eddie did. He isn't as talented, but every few years he scores in double digits. In defense Seattle added two-time Defender of the Year Chad Marshall. There have been some great defenses up here, but none had a shutdown CB. Sounders FC now has that. There were a lot of others swaps that helped out in little ways, but adding two peak age vets who know success in this league sum up the other moves as well.
DT: Osvaldo Alonso was re-signed recently and is one of the most accurate passers in Major League Soccer. What is the most under-appreciated contribution Alonso makes for those who don't follow Seattle closely?
Dave Clark: His passing. Everyone in the league already knows about his ball winning. Only this year, particularly through MLSSoccer.com's deep dives into Opta data are general MLS fans starting to realize that Alonso's passing tree is so diverse. He is not just third in the league for most completed long balls, but of the 10 outfield players that completed the most long balls he has the highest pass completion percentage at 80%. Yep, 80% of his long balls were completed passes. He completes long balls at rate where that alone would have him as the 58th best passer in the league. Non-long balls he completes at a 90% rate.
Seattle has been looking for a deep lying playmaker for some time. It might just be that Alonso became the man for which they were looking.
DT: If you could take one player from the Houston Dynamo in a trade and send an equally talented player in return who would you pick and send back?
Dave Clark: Tally Hall. It isn't that I don't have faith in Frei. It's more that things are pretty great with having Keller and then Hahnemann on the squad. Always having a Sounder as a keeper for the Sounders would be great. I'd guess that deal would have to be something like Frei and a player though. Keeper swaps are hard.
No lineup prediction was offered with the reasoning of Sigi Schmid putting his second Starting XI out for Sunday's match, and thus Wednesday's match will include some mix of starters and subs who may make the Starting XI and some who probably won't.
Also, I don't think Dave wants to predict the result, but for my answers to his questions as well as my lineup and result prediction head over to Sounder at Heart.