Coming into a rapid succession of matches, Sounders FC begin the American League West baseball portion of their 2012 Major League Soccer schedule. On Saturday, Sounders FC travel to Bridgeview, Illinois. South of Chi-town to face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park at 5:30 PST. A rematch of last October’s 2-nil US Open Cup match in Seattle. The Sounders third consecutive US Open Cup.
Sweet Lou, can you hear me now? I don’t imagine former Mariners manager, Lou Piniella will be available to help Sigi Schmid figure out the Sounders upcoming rotation for their spit-tight schedule in May. But I don’t think his dry-wisdom on the matter would be overlooked either.
Me: (My imaginary brief interview with Sweet Lou about the Sounders): Lou, with numerous matches coming up, and players having little recovery time, how do you decide who to bring up and use in your rotation? Especially with some guys just coming back from injury and others still recovering?
Sweet Lou Piniella: “Whoever the organization wants to bring up is fine with me”.
Sigi’s options show more promise than Sweet Lou’s “whoever” answer. Mauro Rosales is likely to start Saturday. Adding a more dangerous attacking element to the Sounders goal-slacking offense.
Since the Sounders 2009 inaugural season they have built a deep and talented bench. That depth and talent will be thoroughly tested in May’s matches.
With their first five matches completed, the Sounders have a 3-W, 1-L, 1-D record. Ten points in five games, averaging two points per match is a good start. (3 pts per win, 1 pt per draw)
Through those first five matches the Sounders have used 19 starters. They will certainly add to that in May. Likely within the next five matches over a compact 14 day stretch.
You see, it’s not just me. That really reads like a MLB Manager’s rotation issues in a compact summer baseball schedule.
Here are the fast and furious five upcoming matches from Saturday, April 28th to Saturday, May 12th.
Chicago Fire, Saturday, April 28th – Away
LA Galaxy, Wednesday, May 2nd – Home
Philadelphia Union, Saturday, May 5th – Home
FC Dallas, Wednesday, May 9th – Away
Real Salt Lake, Saturday, May 12th – Home
One week later, Sounders travel across the northern border for their first Cascadia rivalry match of 2012 with the Vancouver White Caps.
Winning expectations are high for the Sounders in 2012. Injuries always test any teams resiliency and ability to adapt and find ways to win. Last August the Sounders made a strong playoff push with an outstanding 7-W, 0-L, 1-D record. So, there is a precedent for stepping up when it counts in their short MLS history.
The Fire through five matches have 8 pts, with a 2-W, 1-L, 2-D record.
While the Sounders will feature faces recovering from injuries. Chicago will feature newly acquired Forward, Chris Rolfe. Rolfe previously played for Chicago from 2005-2009. He left in ’09 for Danish club, Aalborg BK. He will strengthen their already potent attack with Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, and Dominic Oduro.
Sounders defense will have their hands full. The potent midfield pairing of Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso will again be heavily relied upon to disrupt Chicago’s attack, push the ball through the midfield to Rosales, who the Sounders will count on heavily to assist in finding the scoring touch for Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero, or David Estrada. Who have all been silent for the Sounders the last few matches.
Sigi should be able to find a rotation from the depth of his Sounders bench. Their aim over the next five matches should be to put up no less than 9 pts from 15 possible. If Sigi can’t find players in his rotation to close 9 pts from 15, then someone may need to buzz Piniella to find a closer from the bullpen.
“Our pitchers aren’t pitching very well and our hitters aren’t hitting very well. Outside of that, we’re OK.” — Lou Piniella
Saturday’s match with Chicago Fire is the Sounders 100th since the inaugural match, March 19th, 2009. Amassing a 47-W, 25-L, 27-D record, including 3 consecutive Lamar Hunt US Open Cup titles. The only club with a better record through its first 100 matches is none other than the Chicago Fire. Going 52-W, 30-L, 18-D. Including an inaugural season MLS Cup and US Open Cup title in 1998. They have won 3 more US Open Cup since ’98.
Chris Rolfe, according to MLSsoccer.com is not expected in the lineup vs Sounders on Saturday. Even in supporting the Sounders he’s a player that delights the soccer eye. Just as it has been frustrating for Sounders to have Mauro Rosales out, it is unfortunate for Fire that Rolfe is out. The will be the only Fire v Sounders match of 2012.
© 2012 Sales on Sounders by Ryan J Sales