The Dynamo are back out on the road tonight, traveling to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Sounders in a mid-week match up. Before the match, we spoke to Mark Kastner of Sounder At Heart to get some inside information on LAFC.
Dynamo Theory (DT): Seattle is unbeaten this season but has had their share of injuries. Now with the international tournaments going on, who is Seattle missing this week and who are some unknown players we might see step up for the Sounders?
Sounder At Heart (SAH): So, both Roldan brothers have been called in for the Gold Cup. Alex will play for El Salvador and Cristian is on the USMNT roster. I think Cristian left directly from the game on Sunday to meet up with the US camp, so he’ll be out for Wednesday’s game. That’s a huge loss because he’s arguably been Seattle’s best player this year. Alex hasn’t left yet and should play at RWB against Houston. Seattle also gets back Xavier Arreaga from Copa America, where he didn’t play a single minute for Ecuador. Nicolas Lodeiro, Will Bruin, Nouhou, Stefan Frei, and a few others are still going to miss the game.
Seattle’s kids have been alright. Josh Atencio and Danny Leyva have both shown they can handle playing in the midfield in this new formation and against some tough MLS opposition. Kelyn Rowe, who is Seattle’s newest utility knife, would probably play RWB if Alex is absent. Abdoulaye “AB” Cissoko has done a fantastic job in his first MLS season at CB. He’s also Demba Ba’s nephew!
DT: The Sounders have struggled a bit of late with 2 wins in their last 6. What has been the cause of their recent missteps and is it a cause for concern for the team and Seattle fans going forward?
SAH: The team is clearly running on fumes because of all the injuries they’ve faced. But the good news is that the “floor” for how bad Seattle can get is actually quite high when you have quality in your squad. Raul Ruidiaz is a machine at putting the ball in the back of the net. However, when you’re as stretched thin as Seattle is, you’re more susceptible to costly errors. A backup goalkeeper making the wrong decision, being pinned back at altitude, those sort of things. I’m actually really encouraged by how bad Seattle’s been during this run, if that makes sense. They’ve shown that they can weather storms and figure out how to get a point from games they’d probably lose by multiple goals last season.
DT: The Dynamo have just 1 designated player in Darwin Quintero and 1 new DP in Teenage Hadebe who has yet to play. When you look at this roster at first glance it doesn’t have the big names as a lot of other Major League Soccer clubs but who are some players you will be keeping an eye on that you feel Seattle will have to pay close attention to?
SAH: When I look at Houston’s roster I see a lot of players who can provide the foundation for a really good team. You’ve got two decent MLS fullbacks, some really solid midfielders, and a few forwards who are great to have on an MLS roster. But there’s no heavy hitters, as you mentioned. With that said I absolutely love that Tyler Pasher is coming good at the MLS level. I’m a sucker for a story like his. I’d take him in Seattle in a heartbeat. I also kind of think people have forgotten about Memo Rodriguez and how promising of a talent he can become. I’m happy to see that Tab Ramos has made him a pillar of his team.