1. With a few players having just been busy with international duty, will any significant changes be made to accommodate a recovery period, or are the likes of Evans, Johnson and Martinez raring to go?
The team is probably most confident in Brad Evans ability to go again. The main question is he a right back or a left mid? Some of that may be due to fitness, but whichever place he doesn't start they will be on their third choice. EJ played a more tiring role with the USA than he does with the Sounders and many more minutes over the three Qualifiers than Mario Martinez so is probably the least likely to go 90. Martinez if he starts will be on the left. With Seattle having the next weekend off Sigi could just use them all and try to get maximum points while playing his three forwards together (EJ, Oba, Neagle). This is not going to be a typical lineup or shape for the Sounders.
2. Sounders are clearly doing well right now: You've won 4 of your last five. We're in pretty good shape, too. How much of this might come down to form? Are we looking at a 0-0 draw? Is there a palpable sense that Sounders have a real chance?
Last year's scoreless draw heavy history was boring. Let's not do that again. Can we vote for a 1-1 or a Seattle win? Since losing to RSL the club is 3-1-1 on the road with the loss being that beatdown by LA. A Seattle friendly look at their road form would note that the three losses are really just a Wondo wondergoal and two awful first halves against the other two Western Conference teams that dominate the league. There is no reason to think that the Sounders do not have a chance to win. Except for one thing, that's your third question.
3. Osvaldo Alonso has been dealing with injury concerns: How much of a blow is his absence against an attacking side like RSL?
That's a problem. Risking him to maybe get an extra point or two against Salt Lake could be a big problem. This may be one of those times when Sigi sits him in order to make sure that he heals in full. But that means losing Seattle's best passer (by any measure), their best tackler, their best defender, their second best PK taker. It is a significant and real problem to be without one of the 10-15 best players in the league. That one decision could be the one that determines victory or defeat. Points against RSL are important. Having an awesome July and August is more important.
Alonso is doubtful. Yedlin is in Turkey with the U20s.
Gspurning - Gonzalez, Traore, Scott, Evans; Carrasco; Neagle, Rose, Rosales; Johnson, Martins