It's likely that most Seattle Sounders supporters could not wait for Saturday, and the match against New York Red Bulls, to arrive. March 15th brought the first match of the MLS season, with Seattle hosting Los Angeles Galaxy. The visitors secured a 1-0 win over a Sounders side that appeared to have forgotten how to complete passes, and, even more worryingly, forgotten how to finish. Of course, the Sounders also had to cope with the announcement, just an hour before kickoff, that Swiss international Blaise Nkufo would be parting ways with the club, requiring O'Brian White to step into the starting lineup.
The Sounders will likely field the same lineup against New York as they did against the Galaxy, with one major change: Steve Zakuani had looked unlikely to start in the first match, but appeared healthy throughout, and it seemed almost certain the winger would be in the starting XI. Instead, Zakuani tweeted that he'd be watching the match from home tonight, meaning that the newest Sounder, Mauro Rosales, might get the start. White will likely return to partner Fredy Montero up front, considering there are really very few alternatives. Lamar Neagle came on as a substitute against L.A. but it's unlikely he will get the start. Brad Evans and Pat Noonan did not make the trip to New York.
As for Red Bulls, well, this is their first game of the season, and they'll be looking to make the Sounders even more miserable. The forward pairing of Juan Agudelo and Thierry Henry will likely be dangerous, and while the Seattle defense is likely up to the task of containing them, the New York defense will also be set to contain whatever threat the visitors provide. Rafa Marquez will drop back from midfield to central defense this season, where he'll partner Tim Ream. The Sounders are anxious to put First Kick behind them, but will they be able to correct the weaknesses demonstrated on Tuesday in time to find any points against a team that should be in the running for the MLS Cup?
For all of your Seattle Sounders needs, stop by Sounder at Heart, where they have questions with Red Bulls supporters, match day cards, and lineup predictions.