Sounders FC (13-6-9) vs. D.C. United (8-7-10)
Saturday, Sept. 17, 6 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV/radio: KONG-TV 6/16, KIRO-FM 97.3 AM (Arlo White, Erin Mayovsky)
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Kevin Stott
KEY D.C. UNITED PLAYERS
F/M Dwayne De Rosario — Sure it’s his third team this season, but the guy is a legitimate MVP candidate with nine goals and 10 assists. A dynamic attacker that can come out of the midfield or play up top. Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said he has become “the focal point” of the visitors.
D Perry Kitchen — Many were surprised that the touted youngster from Akron fell to the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, but he’s settled in quite nicely and has had a bigger impact than the two guys selected above him (Omar Salgado, Darlington Nagbe).1,916 minutes are the most by an active player that’s been with the team all season.
M Clyde Simms — With all those offensive-minded options, you need someone to cover ground and hold down the front defensively. That’s this 6-year D.C. veteran. By my count, he’s started 21 of the last 22 MLS games. He’ll have a number of Sounders free-flowing through the midfield to keep an eye on.
Andy Najar vs. Tyson Wahl — A lot of D.C. United’s danger in the first meeting of the season was created down the right side. I believe the 18-year-old Honduran played a role in both goals. Wahl’s passing and set-piece service have been effective this season, but defensive responsibilities on the young star will be paramount.
Charlie Davies vs. Patrick Ianni — My guess is the Sounders will probably boast more of the possession, meaning the visitors will be eager to make the most of counterattacking possibilities. Davies’ pace could pose a serious threat there. I think Ianni gets the call to make up for the suspended Hurtado.
One day’s rest vs. the super road-trip — The Sounders didn’t arrive back from Costa Rica until Thursday, meaning just one day’s preparation. D.C. United has stayed all week on the West Coast after last weekend’s game against Chivas USA and this is their fourth road game in a row. Will fatigue be a factor?
D.C. has scored three goals in each of its previous two trips to Seattle (a 3-3 tie in 2009, a 3-2 win in 2010), but I can’t see that happening again — at least to that extent. I do, however, think there will be goals for both sides.
A 5-4-4 road record from the visitors in quite impressive, but success in the Pacific time zone has been amazing. Ben Olsen’s side won at Portland, at San Jose, at Chivas USA and tied the L.A. Galaxy on the road. Cross-country success has to even out eventually, right?
Schmid was able to rest quite a few players during the midweek game and could start an entirely fresh midfield. I’m going with the Sounders in this one.
Sounders FC 2, D.C. United 1
SEA: Mike Fucito (Fredy Montero) 34′
DC: De Rosario (Najar) 40′
SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (Mauro Rosales) 65′
* * *
How do you see things playing out Saturday? Three more points?