Seattle Sounders vs Montreal Impact: Game Preview – 3 Questions with Sounder At Heart

Otto Greule Jr

Here we go Impact fans! The wait is finally over! The Montreal Impact will kick off their second MLS season on Saturday night against the supremely talented Seattle Sounders.

To get you ready for the game, we asked our friends over at Sounder at Heart to help you get to know our first opponent of the season a little better. Here's what they had to say:

1. Jeff Parke (D) & Fredy Montero (F) are no longer with the team. Any particular reason for their departure? Will their presence be missed? How so?

Parke left so that he could be closer to his family. With his first child he decided it was time to return home. Montero's reasons are more soccer related. His desire to play in a top European league meant that he needed a new showcase. His current team is in Copa Libertadores and he may have a better chance to make the Colombian National Team which would help his chances at a large payday. He is only on loan, and his contract was extended so he could be back in Seattle for 2014 and longer.

Replacing the best defender cost Seattle depth on the backline. They did bring in Djimi Traore, but it is unlikely that he can play at Parke's level. Seattle's forward core lacks even more depth if you look only at "forwards," but there are several attacking midfielders who can slot up until the next DP is brought to the squad. That could be any moment now as they pursue Obafemi Martins.


2. Shalrie Joseph (M) was brought in via trade. What responsability/role will Joseph have?

The former All Star will eventually be getting the most minutes as a central midfielder. He will also get some time at forward and maybe even as a centerback. The Sounders are gambling that he will be more like his 2011 self (a really good player) and that 2012 was about where he played and not his post-peak age. He is almost certainly out for this match as he is both lacking fitness and has a minor calf straing.

3. Expectations are high in Seattle. Is it MLS Cup or bust for Sigi Schmid? Who will be the key contributors to the Sounders success this year?

No, Seattle isn't rash enough to can a coach just because he doesn't get hot in November. It will take much more than that to cause his fall. Still, there is a lot of pressure and they clearly made changes to the roster to try something new and different rather than relatively static tactics of the past few years.

Eddie Johnson, Michael Gspurning, Osvaldo Alonso and Mauro Rosales will all be good to great again. The bigger question is how good will Steve Zakuani, Mario Martinez and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado be? Each is capable of being a difference maker. Each can also go silent for many matches. Those last three will determine if Seattle has a huge season or just a good one.

BONUS: The Sounders acquired Lamar Neagle back from the Montreal Impact during the off season. What is his role with the team?

He is one of the attacking midfielders who will get some time at forward. He's a depth player in both roles, but he will still get time. Neagle's playing style is the most Zakuani-like of the players on the bench. That should mean he is in the 18 to come on and add goals via route one.


PREDICTED FORMATION/STARTING XI: 442

Estrada

Johnson

Zakuani

Rosales

Evans

Gonzalez

Rose

Yedlin

Hurtado

Scott

Gspurning


Player the Impact needs to fear the most and why?

Eddie Johnson's last season was good, but his goal is to be more than an MLS player and a USMNT regular. His motivation this year will be even higher.


Final score prediction: 2-nil

Click here to read Giovanni Sardo's answers to Dave Clark of Sounder At Heart

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