Kate Deines will be in the lineup for this game. Her concussion symptoms are better. Kelli Smith will also be joining the Sounders once again, making the trek from Utah. More than that, we have to wait to see which lineup will start. Sounders Coach Michelle French doesn’t want to tip her hand. You can bet on a couple of players being in the starting eleven though. Goal scoring machine, Veronica Perez is sure to be on the pitch for the entire match. Lyndsey Patterson should also find starting minutes. With veteran players like Stephanie Cox, Deines and Smith on the back line, it will be hard to choose which to start and at which spots.
The attacking line will be much more difficult to predict. She has veterans and youngsters that have all proven that they can handle the pressure of such a big game. Megan Manthey is a dangerous player (with 4 goals on the season), and has been effective off the bench. Allie Beahan scored a brace against the LA Strikers last week. Sophie Reiser, Kara Kuttler, Lindsay Elston and Victoria Frederick should all have roles to play in this game.
This will be the third time that these teams have faced one another this season. As one of my readers pointed out, the odds are in our favor for a victory. The first time that we met the Pali Blues, they were just starting a long road trip, and managed to stun us with two quick goals. We shut them down, but the damage was done. We have yet to get on the score sheet against them. The second game, we held them scoreless until the 70th minute. Again, we couldn’t find the back of the net. This was our final game of a three game road series. Pali was coming off a week’s rest, not to make excuses, but it is true. The Sounders seemed content to sit back and defend rather than push forward and maintain offensive possession. They didn’t hold their shape well. The offense seemed to fall back quickly to defend, rather than wait for the defense to bring it forward. It caused the box to be crowded and disorganized. I expect that to be worked out for this next match.
This game will be on equal footing. Both teams will be rested, other than the travel for the Sounders. Both teams will have their injured players back. Both teams are fighting for the only semi final spot from our conference. Neither team is ready to call it a day.
You can listen to the game on 1150AM KKNW (online is 1150KKNW.com). Jon Billings will be on the call. The game is at 1:00PM on Sunday, July 22nd.