Though RSL fans are quick to point the defensive troubles of last season, it seems like Seattle might have the shorter end of the stick for their first match-up of the season. Injuries may cause the home opener to be a real treat for the fans that make it out to the RioT this Saturday.
After a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss at home, Seattle will be looking to bounce back and earn some points on the road. The trouble is, their back line is struggling from suspensions and early injuries. Oniel Fisher, a young Jamaican fullback received a straight red card in the season-opener for this challenge in the 41st minute:
Roman Torres, the big Panamanian center back, suffered an ACL tear in September of last year, putting him out of action for 9-12 months. Because of his absence for at least the first half of the season, Brad Evans was slated to start in central defense. He did against Sporting KC in the first MLS match, but was subbed off with an apparent shoulder injury. The team reports that he should be healthy in a few days, but will miss the RSL match.
The regular starting right back, Jamaican Tyrone Mears, has a quad strain, and is listed as questionable for Saturday. If he plays, Seattle will only have to worry about the replacing Evans for the match.
Seattle has a few defenders left on their roster that they might use to fill the holes. Tony Alfaro is a young center back that the Sounders drafted this year from Santa Barbara, California. He could be given some first-team action right away, to get his feet wet in the league.
Zach Scott is a veteran right or center back that might fill either slot in a pinch. Dylan Remick, the remaining defender, is a left back, and probably won’t be put in on the right side if Scott is available.
What does this mean for RSL? Best case scenario, both veterans are out for Saturday. If this happens, Plata and Movsisyan should be able to give the Sounders keeper, Stefan Frei, a lot of trouble. If Mears ends up playing, there should still be enough of a mis-match in the central defense for RSL to exploit.