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Seattle Sounders vs. RSL: Three Questions with Sounder at Heart

Dave Clark of SB Nation blog Sounder at Heart took some time today to answer some of our more pressing questions about Seattle — and no, it’s not where to find the best salad in the city. He’s filling us in on the ins and outs of the Sounders, who have impressed in the last few weeks — a real change from the rest of the season.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, this hasn't been your best season. Is there now light at the end of the tunnel?

The light is there, but can they be fast enough to escape the tunnel before it collapses? That's what we do not and cannot know for a couple months. It's going to take at least another six weeks or so of performances like the last two games to be solidly in the race.

There are several signs that Seattle is back to what they were prior to Spring 2016. Nicolas Lodeiro is a creator on par or better than what the Sounders had in Ljungberg and Rosales, but he's younger and more willing to take the beating that MLS offers. With Torres coming back, Fernandez gaining fitness and Evans' ability to move around the XI the Sounders now have 14-15 players that are legit starters in MLS. A month ago they barely had an 11 and any injury meant an emergency quality guy started.

Are you confident in your side being prepared for a dangerous Salt Lake team defensively?

Nope. Seattle did a decent job against LA's attack, but still gave up a goal. Even at their best, when they were quite good, the Sounders defense gave up a goal a game. They just didn't get blown away. In the past month that D weakened. Maybe with the improved possession they'll be back to their strong form, but I need to see that before I believe it.

What's the next step for Seattle organizationally? Is Lagerwey in for the long haul?

Garth is putting his stamp on the team. It's going to be his soccer philosophy that runs the squad with a new coach (or maybe Schmetzer stays) that implements those ideas and theories. His goal is to have a roster with enough variance that the offense is not dependent on two players with an incredible dynamic (Oba-Clint) that falls apart when one leaves. They have a DP spot opening up (Valdez' contract is up) and didn't sign a TAM player this Summer because they couldn't get the proper complement for Lodeiro during the window. So that's two new high quality players coming in without a significant loss. There will be other losses, because MLS, but for now the team looks good and likely to get better for 2017.

Predicted lineup

Frei, J.Jones, Marshall, Torres, Mears; Alonso, Friberg; Ivanschitz, Dempsey, Lodeiro; Morris