How worrying is Seattle's backline situation for this match?
The good news is it looks like Tyrone Mears will be back. He's the normal starter, and while not up to the standard he was early last season is still better than a converted left back (Remick) or center mid (Sturgis, Roldan). That still leaves Zach Scott starting. Zach plays through pain, and injury. He is hearty, tough and a true Sounder. He's also on his last legs. The lack of lateral movement is apparent, and he picks up unnecessary fouls in dangerous areas more now than a few years ago. RSL will not beat him, nor Marshall, in the air. But quick passes and other square movements will be quite effective. Plus, there's no real backup. Ockford and Lowe are out on loan. Torres is on the IR without being on the IR. That leaves true rookie Tony Alfaro as the only sub at CB.
Obviously, the sale of Obafemi Martins hasn't made things easier for your team in the attack. Why should RSL be defensively worried anyway?
Clint Dempsey still exists. But you knew that. Seattle's other two starting forwards are DP Nelson Haedo Valdez, who may be Paraguay's best player and American phenom Jordan Morris. Altogether that's a potent front three. Providing them service is Andreas Ivanschitz. He's what David Beckham was back when Becks could run, except left footed. Ivanschitz provides great set-piece service and sees the field quite well. Plan A in getting the forwards the ball is through Andreas. Plan B is via the long ball. That's not a great alternate plan, so marking out AI can lead to boring soccer by Seattle.
With more than a year of Garth Lagerwey as your GM, what's the feeling like in Sounders-land? Are people still happy and a bit prone to gloating about his arrival?
I think the excitement over the surprise hire is gone. Now it's more a confusion about just what exactly does Garth do. Most of the players brought in so far have been guys on Seattle's radar for some time (they 1st reached out to Valdez three years ago, Morris, Friberg, etc). The only pure Lagerwey move is probably Joevin Jones. Essentially, by coming into a team with such a solid foundation Garth's influence is muted. It makes critique of his performance difficult.
Projected Lineup: Frei; J.Jones, Marshall, Scott, Mears; Alonso, Friberg; Ivanschitz; Dempsey, Valdez, Morris