The Sounders are in the middle of three games in six days and will enter Sunday's season and home opener against Los Angeles FC with a lineup containing several backups.
Everybody knew the Sounders would have to engage in some squad rotation for Sunday’s season and home opener and the starting lineup just announced sure didn’t disappoint on that front.
The Sounders are throwing out a starting XI more akin to a preseason tuneup than their first 2018 home game, with a back line consisting of Nouhou, Tony Alfaro, Roman Torres and Jordy Delem. Normally, that wouldn’t be so bad except that Torres just had an extremely limited preseason in which he was slowed by a lingering hamstring issue.
The attacking midfield sees Harry Shipp and Henry Wingo alongside Nicolas Lodeiro, with Will Bruin the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The defensive midfield is the most solid part on the pitch for the Sounders with Cristian Roldan and Gustav Svensson anchoring it.
In other words, you’ve got a lineup with about six true starters out of 11 and maybe Torres as a seventh if he can play healthy and to the degree expected. This is the result of the team being forced to play three games in six days due to CONCACAF Champions League action. The Sounders play Chivas of Liga MX at home on Wednesday in the Champions League quarterfinal and have to save at least some of their A-listers for that affair. Clint Dempsey isn’t even a substitute for this one.
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Sunday’s opponent, expansion side Los Angeles FC, has some MLS veterans and young talent it can throw out there, but the roster isn’t all that deep and ordinarily this would be a side the Sounders should beat. With this lineup, though, it’s tough to say what kind of a match we’re in for.
GK Stefan Frei
CB Tony Alfaro
CB Roman Torres
RB Jordy Delem
MF Gustav Svensson
MF Cristian Roldan
MF Harry Shipp
MF Nicolas Lodeiro
MF Henry Wingo
FW Will Bruin