Waking The Red: Go on then, get it out of your system, tell us about Clint Dempsey. Can he possibly be good value for $8m per season, and how's he going to fit into the team?
Sounder At Heart: While he may not be good value, Seattle is uniquely positioned within MLS to make up more of that contract than any other team in the league. He's still pricey. It's very unlikely that they can generate that much revenue, but there are revenue streams to tap that no other team has. So if we say that it is a risky business proposition what will it be like on the field? That's a the real question.
This move has to be about collecting trophies again. Dempsey is a great player, who both provides midfield service and a scoring threat from advanced positions. Over time his presence will force a more fluid offense that should make up for the fact that to this point is not generating enough shots on goal to win games despite being one of the best defensive teams in the league by attempted shots. Going from a slightly above average but oft injured team to a league favorite by adding just one player may seem extreme, but in this case it is likely true.
WTR: Though they're sitting right on the edge of the playoffs, it seems to a casual observer that this has been a disappointing season for the Sounders, one that just hasn't really ever got properly into gear. What's caused that, and is it fixed and they're getting going just at the right time of the season. Do the fans still have faith in Sigi?
SAH: Most fans still have faith in Sigi, but vocal cries for a new coach were raised this season. Oddly, they were probably loudest during the opening stretch of the season when Sounders FC was making history in the CCL while having a pretty crappy start to the MLS season. There are people who think that he's tactically static (though he's used at least three different shapes/strategies as his primary with Seattle), some also feel that his coaching style is too old fashioned in modern MLS with Porter and Kreis (they ignore failures of coaches that used similar tactics poorly), and others have even suggested that players don't want to play for him (Dempsey says hello). If he fails to make the MLS Cup Playoffs with this roster he probably loses his job. If they bomb out of the first round that will likely remain true. There's also little reason to think that either of those are likely unless you are the type of person that bathes in misery.
WTR: DeAndre Yedlin, all star. How's that happened?
SAH: Some of it had to be that he's the best HGP this season and Garber wanted to promote the program. He's a good, maybe great, right back, but arguments could be made for a half dozen others at that position. What Yedlin has on them is personality, a US passport and a flair for dramatic moments. As a symbol of what the future is here in Seattle and around the league he's perfect.
WTR: Lineup and score prediction.
SAH: Gspurning; Gonzalez, Traore, Hurtado, Yedlin; Alonso; Neagle, Evans, Rosales; Johnson, Martins
Dempsey is likely to come on as a sub for any of the five most advanced players.
Thanks Dave. Be sure to check out Sounder at Heart for the Seattle view of the game, as well as to check out my answers to his questions right here.