When the Sounders defeated Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Final last year, it was a great surprise for many.
Not only on the day, where the Canadian club were certainly favoured, but for the Sounders to even have reached the final was a shock, even to their own fans. When the team fired Sigi Schmid halfway through last season after a tough start, the team sat outside of the playoff places.
Quite the core
Under Brian Schmetzer, the team caught fire. Nico Lodeiro, one of the team’s Designated Players and undoubtedly their best player, was an unstoppable attacking threat.
Jordan Morris, a Homegrown Player and USMNT call-up was able to provide secondary scoring in the absence of Client Dempsey, who missed a significant portion of last year, including the playoffs, due to a heart condition.
Roman Torres, who scored the winning penalty against Toronto, found his stride and steadied the backline along with Chad Marshall.
All of these key players are back again for 2017, which could make the Sounders very dangerous in the upcoming season. They added MLS veteran Will Bruin and former Impact player Harry Shipp to bolster their bench.
Based on the lineup the team rolled out last week in a deserved 2-1 loss to Houston, a loss in which the Dynamo looked the far better team, the Sounders will look to play Morris as a lone striker, with Dempsey as a #10 behind him. He will act very much as a second forward, as Lodeiro acts as the main playmaker from his left-wing position, much like Ignacio Piatti, in his team’s 4-2-3-1.
Joevin Jones and newcomer Gustav Svensson like to support the attack from fullback, so it will be important for Montreal’s wingers, likely Piatti and Oduro, to track back and help break up the Sounders attack.
Seattle has a very strong midfield presence, with the physical Osvaldo Alonso and MLS SuperDraft pick Christian Roldan both capable of covering a lot of ground and breaking up attacks, as well as starting them the other way.
It will be important for Montreal’s midfield to be stronger than they were last week, because they will outnumber the Sounders. If they can made due on this numerical advantage, Montreal’s midfield trio should be able to set up more attacks for Piatti and Mancosu than last week.