Updated Oct 22, 2013 - 9:30 pm
Sounders Playoff Bound, Now What?
The Sounders expect a crowd of over 64,000 fans for Sunday's last regular season match against the LA Galaxy. Supporters will be wondering which team will show up.
With the playoffs looming, will it be the side that lost one match in August and September? Or, is it the current Sounders riding a late season four-game losing streak?
Some of the key considerations include:
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid started Marcus Hahnemann the last two regular season matches in place of season long starter Michael Gspurning.
Schmid pulled the Austrian keeper after he gave up nine goals in two games. Hahnemann's lost his two away starts by scores of 0-1 and 0-2 to Portland and FC Dallas, respectively.
Lamar Neagle (Wikimedia Commons)
Despite the presence of Eddie "Show Me The Money" Johnson, Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle the Sounders are 13th in goals scored. Johnson leads the team with nine, with Martins and Neagle tied with eight each.
The lack of chemistry and offensive production could be attributed to nagging injuries, national team callups and an ever-changing lineup.
The high-profile and multi-million dollar signing of Dempsey was supposed to be a turning point for the Seattle franchise. Management must be concerned with the lack of production from the former English Premier League player.
In 561 minutes of play, he's failed to record a single goal or assist. Dempsey's been the recipient of several hard tackles and currently suffering from a shoulder injury.
Should he find his scoring touch in the playoffs, all will be forgiven.
Home field advantage
Seattle's lost two home games in 16 matches (10-2-4 34 points), and could exceed their previous record of 35 points with a win over the Galaxy. In seven matches where home attendance exceeded 53,000, the Sounders won each one.
Head coach Sigi Schmid.
Schmid's faced numerous challenges this year: the Dempsey acquisition hoopla, an ever changing game day roster due to World Cup qualification, shaky late-season goalkeeping and assorted injuries to key players.
Team owners aren't satisfied with making the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. The pressure's on the veteran MLS gaffer to bring a championship home to Seattle.
Should the Sounders fail to come close in their quest, look for significant player and coaching changes before the start of the 2014 season.
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