The Sounders are winless after four matches this season at 0-2-2 and they've struggled to score for periods early on. After being blanked in their first two games against
In midfield, Steve Zakuani is Seatlle's most dangerous weapon without Montero on the pitch. Attacking from the left side he will be matched up with Jalil Anibaba in another test for the Fire rookie. Erik Friberg has started every game and will play on the opposite side while Uruguayan DP Alvaro Fernandez continues to come of the bench. Centrally
Defensively Schmid has opted for Patrick Ianni and Jeff Parke in the middle keeping Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on the bench for the last two matches. James Riley and Leo Gonzalez complete the back line on the right and left respectively in front of Kasey Keller.
I would expect Carlos De Los Cobos to stick with a 4-4-2 in lieu of Zakuani's dangerous speed and the absence of central defender Josip Mikulic. After injuring a quad in training before the US Open Cup game last Wednesday Mikulic did not make the trip to
Bratislav Ristic returned to training after missing the home opener and played in the Fire's reserve match last Saturday morning. Expect Patrick Nyarko to get the start along with Marco Pappa, Logan Pause, and Mike Videira in midfield since Ristic trained with the second team for most of the week. Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari should find some room against a fairly average
OUT : Mike Banner D (L achilles tendinitis), Steven Kinney D (R achilles repair); DOUBTFUL : Gabriel Ferrari F (R hip flexor strain); PROBABLE : Josip Mikulic D (L quadriceps strain), Cory Gibbs D (R groin soreness)
DOUBTFUL : Mike Fucito F (L ankle sprain), Josh Ford G (illness); QUESTIONABLE : Fredy Montero F (R wrsit fracture); PROBABLE : Pat Noonan M (L abductor strain), Taylor Graham D (L hand fracture)
Visiting players may find
Fire 1 Sounders 1
The Rest of the League
Colorado 2 FC Dallas 1 - The Hoops are in desperate need of a win at home but Colorado is in excellent form early on. I suspect Dallas isn't anywhere near the team they were last year.
New York 2 Philadelphia 1 - MLS' main office is aching to get the Red Bulls involved in a meaningful rivalry with somebody and they're pushing this match in hopes of fueling the competition between fans. If you get a chance listen to this week's Extra Time Radio podcast. There's an excellent line about Dungeons and Dragons from a New York supporter while verbally dueling with a Philadelphia counterpart.
Los Angeles 1 DC United 0 - United is at home and they'll have a large crowd behind them. Let's see what they've got against LA. Charlie Davies is expected back after missing last week with a groin injury.
Real Salt Lake 1 New England 1 - Typically I'd go with RSL in this one but they're coming off a CCL road trip to Costa Rica on Tuesday night. Steve Nicol continues to do it with mirrors although they also played in Vancouver on Wednesday night.
San Jose 2 Toronto 1 - San Jose seems to be finding a scoring touch and Toronto is just plain bad.
Chivas USA 1 Columbus 0 - I don't believe either side will be in playoff contention when the season comes to a close.
Houston 2 Vancouver 1 -