1 - RSL and Seattle have been on a pretty similar trajectory all season, with your side earning slightly fewer points at the beginning of the season prioritizing Champions League — and now you’re just two points behind us. What do you need to see to have confidence that the team can make the playoffs and succeed?
If Brian Schmetzer’s men are going to go deep into the playoffs they have to score again. When Raul Ruidiaz doesn’t start there’s an attacking hole at forward and on one wing. The current DMs (Rusnak and elder Roldan) aren’t entering the attack often enough to be considered strong elements. Even one-time MVP candidate Nicolas Lodiero is maybe half a hole.
Seattle fans can have some hope, as Raul is back starting again. When he’s in the team scores more often. He opens up space for Nico and one of Albert/Cristian to surge forward too. That bodes very well for the match this weekend. But Ruidiaz must remain healthy. Without him the offense is Jordan Morris and people who should be much better.
2 - With four losses at home, it looks like home field advantage might have dipped for Seattle somewhat in 2022. Should RSL fans get preemptively excited?
I had to double check, as the home form has felt better than it did last year, when the club had four losses at home. What probably makes me feel better about a year that may wind up worse in MLS play is that the team went undefeated at home on the Champions League run, including beating two Liga Mx teams and the reigning MLS Cup champs.
Still, there was a time when the Sounders were giants at home. That era may be part of the Before Times, because that’s back when they were dominant. Now I’m sad.
3 - How is Albert Rusnak fitting into the team? What’s his role look like, and does he seem happy? Does he ever talk about us?
Rusnak has fit into the squad incredibly well. On the field he sees his teammates well and the personality appears to be a great fit. The thing that has frustrated a vocal segment of the fanbase is that he’s playing as 8 and sometimes a 6, rather than a wing or a 10. Which means that he doesn’t put up those big boxscore numbers people were used to seeing. That’s frustrating, especially since the Sounders attack has been lacking too often. In the last three normal seasons (not 2020) he had double digit goals and just over seven assists. There’s no denying it, that would be really handy right now.
He seems rather satisfied in the more defensive role, and at this time, with injuries to the best two DMs on the team, Brian Schmetzer probably needs Albert there more than anywhere else. He’s currently the best of the set-piece service players, which gives him a few more touches. Maybe that will come around and he’ll get up to 5 & 5 in the final ten games.
Bonus: Are you glad you don’t have to play against David Ochoa? Zac MacMath is not exactly known for antics.
I can’t say I’ve thought about David Ochoa. He was an average keeper on an average team that pulled off a good upset.