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Crossing the Touchline: Crew at Seattle Sounders

Hear from the other side of tonight’s cross-conference battle.

Chicago Fire FC v Seattle Sounders FC Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

It’s Week 2 of the 2020 Major League Soccer season and Columbus Crew SC will head on the road for the first time this year on Saturday night. After a 1-0 win against New York City FC — who played with 10 men for the majority of the game following a third-minute red card — at home last week, the Crew face another major challenge against the defending MLS Cup champions Saturday night.

The Sounders played an unconvincing game against the Chicago Fire at home to start the season. Seattle opened the year with a 2-1 win but fell down 1-0 and needed two goals, including one in stoppage time, from second half substitute Jordan Morris to earn the victory.

With neither side putting out stunning displays in Week 1, Saturday night’s game will be a test of who has the early-season form and who still has some things to work on.

To get a better sense of the Sounders, we reached out to our SB Nation sister site, Sounder at Heart and manager Mark Kastner to get some insight.

Questions for Sounder at Heart

Massive Report: The Sounders are coming off another MLS Cup run last year. Do you get the sense this team is fired up to make another push in 2020? What are the expectations for this year’s squad?

Sounder at Heart: Things weren’t particularly easy with last year’s team, but winning the Cup help solidify that this team was one of the best in the league. This year, the team reloaded and is ready to defend their cup and possibly challenge for more. Exiting CCL so early was a massive disappointment and I think the team will use that failure to spur on success in the league.

MR: For Crew fans who don’t pay as much attention to other MLS teams, what are some of the changes Seattle made this offseason and how do you expect those to change the team this season?

SaH: For a team that won MLS Cup, the Sounders made some massive overhauls in the offseason. 3 of the 4 players that started on the backline in the MLS Cup Final are gone. The MLS Cup Final MVP is gone as well. Overall, I think there’s 8 changes to the roster — including a new Designated Player in Joao Paulo.

The team is still experiencing some transitioning, injuries, and figuring out their best XI but newcomers like Yeimar Gómez, Andrade and Paulo are expected to be the two key additions to the roster. Andrade is a massive centerback and Paulo is a deep lying playmaker. Oh, and Cristian Roldan is expected to be a full time winger this season.

MR: Those in Columbus still fondly remember Sigi Schmid and understand how he was a winner in MLS. What has made Brian Schmetzer as good if not better with the Sounders? How are the two coaches different/similar?

SaH: Sigi’s legacy in Seattle will forever be untouched. His departure was obviously less than ideal, but I don’t think very many fans hold that against him or even the team at this point. While Schmetzer was the coach who delivered the team’s first (and second) MLS Cup, he did so on the foundation that Sigi built for the club.

There’s some tactical and man management differences between the two coaches, but I think Brian would be the first person to say that the Sounders wouldn’t be where they are today without the work Sigi put in.

MR: How much do Sounders fans hate Caleb Porter?

SaH: A lot. So much. As much as they hate Diego Chara. Easily the Timbers’ most hated coach ever.

To read Massive Report’s answers to Sounder at Heart’s questions, head over to their Three Questions piece.