The Sounders are a very deep team. Easily the deepest in MLS, and notable in the context of CONCACAF for their ability to compete across multiple fronts. But there's always a limit. And with a clash against rivals Vancouver with the Cascadia Cup on the line on Saturday, a game in Guatemala that necessitated a point this past Tuesday and the biggest game of the year in the US Open Cup final against the Chicago Fire on the docket this coming Tuesday, the Sounders may have reached theirs. The New England Revolution are one of the worst teams in the league and a side against which the Sounders would ordinarily expect to collect three points with ease, but the fixture congestion that has built up over the past few weeks has thrown a bit of a wrench in their plans.
No team ever wants to lose, but if the Sounders are going to sacrifice a result this season this evening's contest is likely as good as any. And in their acceptance of running with a less than optimal lineup, the Sounders may well gather some very useful knowledge as they head into the offseason. There's a good chance we'll see Josh Ford, Michael Tetteh, David Estrada and Sammy Ochoa this evening. We might even see Leo Gonzalez playing as a center back. This is yet another chance to have a look at players like Amadou Sanyang and Servando Carrasco. If one of the Sounders young prospects can put in a good shift and their performance backs up what the coaching staff has seen in training, Seattle may well have one fewer hole to fill during the off-season.
And to be perfectly frank, the Revolution is a fairly bad team. There's not a whole lot of reason to believe that even a heavily compromised Sounders team would be unable to get a result against New England, The Revs might have more points than the Whitecaps but there's really little reason to think they're in any way a better team at this point, and if you're looking to give the kids a soft landing this is a fantastic opportunity.
With all the above said, the Sounders are likely underdogs in this game. They may have come into that role in a very back-door sort of fashion, but it's true nonetheless. This game is about keeping the regulars healthy and taking a look towards the future. If Seattle can grab a point or three, well, that's pretty fantastic. But if not, it's far from the end of the world. And being in that situation with four games left to play is pretty handy indeed.