The Sounders have yet to win or draw a game this season. They haven’t scored, in fact, and sit in last place. Now, their job in Kansas City has gotten that much harder with the MLS Disciplinary Committee deciding Thursday that forward Clint Dempsey will have his suspension extended another game for his violent conduct against Dallas FC.
“We will miss Clint, I didn’t think he deserved a red card – he was slapping (Jacori Hayes’) hand away – and I don’t think it should have been two (matches),” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer explained Thursday. “We’re just trying to push past it. I don’t agree with it. At this point in time, we have to focus on Sporting KC.”
On Sunday, the Rave Green take on Sporting KC, a team that sits in the top spot in the West. Not only will the Sounders be doing it without Dempsey, they will also be without Harry Shipp, who was expected to step in for Deuce. Shipp injured his ankle in training and had to be carted off the field.
This leaves the Sounders with the very capable Will Bruin as their sole striker, but his strength doesn’t lie in his speed. If Sporting controls the tempo of the game, it will be difficult for Bruin to break through. But, given the opportunities, he’s likely to strike and he’s been itching for his first goal of the season. Lamar Neagle shouldn’t be forgotten, either. He’s come in big for the Sounders in the past.
Making matters worse, however, is that Kelvin Leerdam is out, also suspended for a very much avoidable red card.
Reasons for Hope: The bright side of all of this is that it’s early in the season and the Sounders haven’t yet faced any impossible-to-overcome obstacles. Clearly, they could use the dynamic play of the injured Jordan Morris. But with enough discipline to avoid red cards and some consistent time to play together, they will come into form. Remember, this is only their fourth MLS game, having had a couple international breaks (and travel) to contend with. And don’t forget, Ozzie Alonso is back and will soon be 90-minute fit.
Reasons to Worry: Sporting won’t be easy, the Sounders are several men down and this losing streak may play some mind games on the road. I feel much better about the home game next weekend against Minnesota.