A Seattle side unbeaten in five welcomes Toronto to Qwest Field.On Form
Seattle Sounders FC: The Sounders are unbeaten in their last five matches with the 1-0 road victory over the Colorado Rapids. Forward Fredy Montero scored his first goal of the year, despite playing with a cast on his injured wrist. He leads the league with 11 shots-on-target, and finally turned the scoring chances into an entry in the scoresheet. Montero’s timing is good, as he will be needed to make up for the loss of winger Steve Zakuani.
Toronto FC: Alan Gordon has been thriving in Aron Winter's 4-3-3 formation playing as the target striker. Not only has he found his scoring touch but he is dropping in deep to hold up the ball or send his teamates through the holes he creates. Javier Martina was latching onto those through balls against the Crew, but was unfortunate that William Hesmer was in net for the Crew. Julian de Guzman has been a whole new player this season, he has been integral to the Red's possession game since his return from injury as well as lofting a perfectly weighted pass to Tchani for the go ahead goal last weekend.
Seattle: Zakuani was taken down on a sliding tackle by Brian Mullan in the third minute of play in the Colorado matchup. The dynamic midfielder underwent surgery for a broken right fibula and tibia following the match. The Sounders will sorely miss his dynamic runs into the box and scoring ability. He leaves a huge gap for head coach Sigi Schmid to fill for the rest of the season.
Toronto: Toronto may have played its best since the arrival of Winter against the Crew up until Tony Tchani received a red card, something the Reds seem to be accumulating quickly this season. The word discipline was likely used by Winter several times in his talks with the team leading up to the game this weekend. Maicon Santos has yet to consistently show the reasoning behind Winter's decision to give him the captain's armband and the central role that was left empty with the departure of De Rosario.
Seattle: Schmid has been playing as many as three forwards in the last couple of games. Replacing Zakuani will be his main concern. Alvaro Fernandez appears to be the most likely candidate to fill Zakuani’s slot in the starting lineup. The veteran head coach may revert back to a traditional 4-4-2, and let Montero and O’Brian White carry the offensive load in front of the nets.
Toronto: Toronto is in the beginning of a very busy 3 weeks filled with midweek games, so Winter's lineups will be difficult to predict as he will likely be resting players. It's also possible that because the chances of silverware are much more likely through the Canadian Championship, some key players might be rested against the Sounders to ensure qualification to the finals. The key difference in the Reds' play when Winter is going for the win compared to a tie is the play from his two defensive midfielders. It's doubtful either will be roaming too far forward at Quest Field as a tie on the road to the Sounders will suffice.
Seattle: With Colorado playing a man down for most of the match, the Rave Green let the home side carry the bulk of the play. Seattle was lucky to walk away with the three points. It’s understandable that the devastating injury to Zakuani distracted them for the remaining minutes of the game. The home fans are planning a tribute to the former first round pick during the 11th minute of play in their upcoming encounter against Toronto. His presence will be felt by his teammates. It remains to be seen if this will be a distraction or a motivator for the Sounders.
Toronto: The Reds are beginning to look like a team that plays at the same level as their opponents, lifting or lowering their game play. Against the Sounders they will have to raise it considerably but it's looking like TFC fans will be getting used to splitting the points this season.
Zielonka: The Sounders go unbeaten in April and extend their streak to six. Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 Toronto FC, Montero and Rosales to score.
Christopher: Toronto will hold on for another valuable road point against a tough team but that won't stop O'Brian White from notching one against his former team. Sounders 1-1 Toronto FC.
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