Sounders FC vs D.C. United
July 3, 2013, 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; KOMO2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
Sounders FC and D.C. United meet just once in 2013 and although DC will be playing without 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, 2012 Rookie of the Year runner-up Nick DeLeon and rising goalkeeper Bill Hamid, the Sounders aren’t about to take them lightly.
Here are three intriguing matchups in Wednesday’s contest.
Mauro Rosales vs Alain Rochat
The Seattle midfielder and D.C. United left back have seen plenty of each other before, as Rochat played a similar role for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in their first two years before joining D.C. in a trade last year. Rochat’s tendency to get forward has opened up opportunities for Rosales in the past, as he has one goal and two assists in four matches when facing Rochat. Seattle is 1-0-3 in those matches with six goals. On the other side, Rochat scored once in a 2-2 draw last May in Vancouver, showing his willingness to dribble when unchallenged. While Rosales may be able to get in behind Rochat at times, the D.C. defender will also challenge Rosales to be somewhat honest defensively, too.
Obafemi Martins vs Ethan White
A 22-year-old product of the D.C. United Academy, White has come on strong in recent weeks. But how will that stack up against a player with the pedigree of Martins? In his six starts this season, D.C. has allowed six goals with two shutouts coming in his last three starts. He hasn’t faced a forward pair as accomplished as Martins and Eddie Johnson though, so how he is able to cope with the Sounders attack will go a long way in determining the outcome of the match. Likewise, Sounders FC may look to take advantage of the relative inexperience of White and center back partner Daniel Woolard to unlock their offense.
Djimi Traore vs Chris Pontius
Without De Rosario and DeLeon, Pontius becomes even more important for the D.C. United attack. The fifth-year midfielder and forward has shown an ability to be dangerous from many angles, so Traore will have to keep an eye on him throughout the match. His communication with the rest of the defense will be important, too, as Pontius does float out wide a lot and attacks the middle from the wings. He has 26 goals and 15 assists in 114 matches, with three of those goals coming against Seattle, who will undoubtedly be looking to slow him down on Wednesday.