1) Sounders looking at a severely weakened midfield
Without doubt, the biggest challenge facing the Sounders, is their ability to put out a strong midfield. In particular, they will struggle to replace Osvaldo Alonso, who has been their best player this season.
Unfortunately, Alonso couldn’t have picked a worse time to miss a game, after being sent off against the Dynamo. Regardless of how bad Will Bruin’s tackle was, his reaction was boneheaded. (Not that I would ever dare to say that to his face.)
It doesn’t help that Andreas Ivanschitz left Wednesday’s game after just 16 minutes, due to a right knee sprain. He has been ruled out for Sunday’s clash and has been listed as doubtful for the final game of the season, against Real Salt Lake.
Just to make things even more challenging, Alvaro Fernandez is questionable with a hamstring injury. Undoubtedly, the pressure will be on Cristian Roldan to make up for the absences and link up effectively with Erik Friberg, who is favored to replaced Alonso in the middle of the park.