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Three things to watch against Seattle Sounders: Sabo, Plata and the midfield

With a match against Seattle Sounders at their tiny stadium looming, there's plenty to watch for. Here are three things at which we'll be looking.

George Frey

Last week, we watched for...

Who's that striker?

We saw four strikers in that match, and two of them scored. Robbie Findley grabbed his first goal of the season in a nice moment, and Alvaro Saborio snagged a goal only moments after returning, which was an even nicer moment. It was, in a word, awesome. Brilliant. Momentous. Invigorating. Lots of other words, too.

Does FC Dallas squeeze us out on the flanks again, and how does that affect our play?

Actually, there wasn't too much of that going on. It doesn't have much to do with field size (114x74 at Toyota Stadium, 120x75 at Rio Tinto Stadium) but more to do with approach. We focused a bit more on vertical movement than in the last one, and it worked out nicely.

How much is revenge on the cards?

Enough that we were focused and ready, but not so much that we played with our heads hidden in the sands, searching for revenge. It was a good balance, and that was a nice development, especially after all of the talk coming out of Real Salt Lake in the intervening two weeks between matches.

Bonus question: Is Nick Rimando ready to go?

Yep. He didn't have much to do, but he was back.

This week, let's watch for...

Will Alvaro Saborio continue to impress?

It's difficult after such a long time out to make a smooth transition, but Alvaro Saborio has a chance to do just that. It's hard to say if he'll start (it's not terribly likely) but it wouldn't be surprising to see him play. He doesn't need to score a goal every time he comes on, of course (but we wouldn't complain if it was the case), but just seeing his hold-up play and general propensity for winning either the ball or a foul in a position high up the pitch will be a great comfort.

Will we see our preferred (for now) attacking pairing of Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio?

I mean, it depends on Saborio being out there, and it depends on Plata being ready after international duty, but why not? They've been my favorite pairing to watch, and we've struggled since Saborio's injury to find any consistency in a pairing. It has, I suppose, allowed us to rotate our forwards and keep each one (except perhaps Plata) a bit more fresh as we reach this point in the season, so it's not all bad.

Who wins the midfield battle in Seattle?

I know, I know. It kind of rhymes. I want you to know first and foremost that was entirely unintentional. The big tactical question Jeff Cassar will have to approach: How do we win the midfield battle? It's perhaps the most important thing we can do for the match. We can't allow ourselves to constantly be on the back foot (see: May 2014) and we can't just sacrifice what we do best.

But as we've so often seen, it's been at our most proactive — not reactive — that we find success. That's really what we'll need, so continuing to do the same things we do every week will be huge.