The San Jose Earthquakes are scheduled to be back in action on Sunday, when they host the Seattle Sounders once more. The last time these teams met in Earthquakes Stadium, it was a bloodbath, but what’s happened since then for the Sounders? We spoke to Mark Kastner of SB Nation’s Sounders site Sounder at Heart to get the scoop. Thanks for Mark for taking the time to answer my questions!
Center Line Soccer asks Sounder at Heart:
1. Can’t say the last meeting against the Sounders was much fun, but how have things been going for Seattle since last we met?
The Sounders have been pretty good throughout September and October. Not incredible, but pretty good. Like a B+ or A-. They’ve only dropped points four times since leaving the bubble in Orlando. Most recently they lost 3-1 against a severely shorthanded LAFC side. I think that coming up against a resurgent San Jose team will actually be a good test to see what this team is really made of.
2. Raul Ruidiaz tested positive for coronavirus. Is he OK, and who will play in his place against the Quakes?
All signs are pointing towards him being asymptomatic and he is seemingly in good spirits. He’s self-isolating in Peru and has a pretty neat setup, according to his instagram. It looks like he’s in a fancy hotel suite where they’ve repurposed one of the rooms into a gym. So, he’s been posting selfies on the treadmill and such.
With that said, the Sounders definitely aren’t the same team without him. Will Bruin has been deputizing while Ruidiaz has been away on international duty. Bruin is a completely different type of forward to Ruidiaz. He does allow Jordan Morris to play more as a second forward rather than a left winger. It’d be cool to see Bruin score a goal as a reward for all the work he does.
3. Rumor has it there’s this thing called a transfer window currently open. Has Seattle made any moves of late, or are they sticking with the group they have?
It was supposed to be a quiet window for Seattle. All the messaging coming out of the team since way back in the winter was that all of their resources were tied up and they didn’t have much flexibility. Well, I guess that changed because they were able to bring back Brad Smith and Roman Torres in this window. Smith had previously spent two seasons on loan in Seattle from English side Bournemouth. His contract with them ran out in the summer so he was available to sign on a free transfer. His deal is allegedly very cap friendly this season, backloading the cap hit to next year and beyond.
Torres is an interesting signing. The Sounders were probably one CB short and Torres wasn’t getting any playing time in Miami. So, Garth Lagerwey invented new MLS assets to trade to acquire him. I’m sure it’s been done before around the league, but I’ve never seen the Sounders trade a “protected SuperDraft pick” before. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what year it’s for.
Both moves are shrewd deals to bolster a team that’s expecting to make a deep run in the 2020 playoffs.
You can find my answers to Mark’s questions on Sounder at Heart.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.