Yet another Thursday match day as the Seattle Sounders gear up for a tough section of their schedule, preparing to jet off for Costa Rica shorty after this match. Tuesday night brings the CONCACAF Champions League match against Saprissa in San Jose before flying off to Columbus for their league match against the Crew next Saturday. I'll share more about my thoughts regarding the CCL match later, but for now I will simply say that the Sounders need to not concern themselves with upcoming games and instead field their best team possible tonight.
As I mentioned in a short commentary yesterday, Blaise Nkufo continues to be troubled by his knee, and won't be available for Seattle tonight. Instead, Fredy Montero will be partnered up front by Nate Jaqua, who's only seen one MLS start since coming back from injury. But he's been a force in Open Cup play and--even more important--the position he assumes on the field is one similar to that of Nkufo, playing further forward and allowing Montero to act more as an attacking midfielder.
James Riley is also sidelined with a sprained ankle, and it is fairly certain that Zach Scott will be his replacement. RSL will be without Jamison Olave due to yellow card accumulation. According to Sounder at Heart, Olave is great at set pieces, so maybe the Sounders can just snatch him off the sidelines when the rest of the team is looking the other way. Fabian Espindola is also missing, having not even traveled with the club.
Scarves up, Seattle! Match is at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Find more in-depth pregame coverage at Sounder at Heart, and stop by to add to the in-match chatter. As always, significant events will be posted in this stream.