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Four questions with Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart



Photo by Carl Gulbish
OK, folks, let’s try this again.
For the second time this season, the Philadelphia Union are set to take on the Seattle Sounders at Subaru Park. Tuesday’s weather looks a good bit clearer than it was the last time these two sides tried to play, so we’ll likely get some soccer today.
Ahead of the match, we reconnected with our friend Dave Clark with Sounder at Heart to get an update on the Sounders.
Philadelphia Soccer Now: Seattle’s had a tough stretch this season, losing almost every game it plays on the road. What’s going on there?
Dave Clark: Death by a thousand cuts isn’t just a cliche, it’s a list of what’s wrong with the Sounders in 2024. Somewhere between one and three players are performing at or above expectations. The rest are either failing to generate scoring opportunities or helping the other team score against them (Yeimar, a former Defender of the Year candidate has tried that twice, once it worked). Run-of-play goals are infrequent because the three forwards, all with histories of success, are adding a season of sorrow to their stories. The coaching staff has tried a base 4-2-3-1, a version of a 4-4-1-1 and even a 3-5-1 (this kinda worked).
They did get a road point, a nil-nil in Dallas, which is rather bad in 2024. It’s Seattle’s only result. Somehow, despite the problems listed above, the four losses resulted in only a -4 goal differential. The Sounders still keep things really close and in the matches against San Jose and DC they looked capable of at least drawing. Those are tiny hollow ‘victories’ though. Seattle under Schmetzer is typically a great road team, and there’s time to get there. Being a strong road team in MLS can be as simple as winning three matches away from home.
PSN: Like the Union, the Sounders have a quick turnaround from their match against D.C. How will Seattle rotate?
DC: The biggest attempt at rotation was that both Jordan Morris and Raúl Ruidíaz played a half against DCU. Léo Chú also didn’t play much, as he was taken off when Frei committed a red card. Those three, who will be vital to getting an offense going against Philly are rested. Also, the entire backline did not play against United. But they don’t have Xavi Arreaga anymore, so his replacement will be someone who played on Saturday.
Cristian Roldan will not be rested. He played a lot starting at right back and finishing at right wing. Josh Atencio is the only other from the XI against Union the first time we tried this to go 90.
PSN: What’s good about this Seattle team?
DC: Outside of the loss to Vancouver they look capable of good soccer for stretches of any game. They don’t get blown out — they just fizzle. When fully functional they can look very good. That Montreal match was a joy. But the central midfielders that helped fuel that are not available Tuesday night.
Circling back to the first answer, Andrew Thomas is good. He’s exceeding expectations and looking like a league-average starting keeper so far. He’s the best athlete on the team. Josh Atencio is another one who has been mostly good with some great and a match that wasn’t good. Atencio could wind up at the Olympics.
PSN: Will the Sounders have any notable absences? What are your score and lineup predictions?
DC: Xavi Arreaga was traded to New England at the deadline. He’ll be replaced by either Yeimar or Jonathon Bell. Danny Musovski was injured against United, and so will not be on the bench as he was in the original match.
I’m dreaming of Seattle stealing three points with a 1-nil result powered by being much fresher after the weekend matches. I also think they’ll stay in the formation from the 4411 since the best 10 available due to the match suspension went 90.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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