TUKWILA, Wash. – When Christian Tiffert was signed about a month ago, it was in the hope that the central midfielder could be the piece that unlocked the potential of the Seattle Sounders’ offense.
The early returns suggest that’s just what he’s done. In the roughly 50 minutes he’s been on the field alongside Fredy Montero, Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson, the Sounders have scored three goals and been goal-dangerous with alarming regularity. Visiting Chivas USA on Saturday (10:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online), it seems as if the Sounders will give that group a more extended look together.
“We’ll play what we think works for us as a group,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said on Friday. “The guys that seem to fit together and see how they work on that. It’s going to be our first opportunity to put Montero, Johnson, Rosales and Tiffert on the field at the same time.”
What shape that group will take and who else might join them in the attack is a bit more of a mystery.
Alex Caskey has started each of the Sounders’ past four games as the left midfielder, but Brad Evans played there late in last week’s game. Also in the mix is newly acquired Mario Martinez, who has now got about a week’s worth of practice time with the Sounders.
“It’s now a matter of making sure we have the right balance of attacking players and defending players,” Schmid said. “We’ve got certain ideas, I’m not going to throw them out here right now, but it might be a little bit of a hybrid-type of team. Sometimes maybe we’ll look like a 4-4-2, sometimes we might look like a 4-3-3, sometimes we might look like a 4-2-3-1. It all depends a little bit.”
The reasons might be a little different, but the Sounders aren’t quite sure what to expect from Chivas, either.
“They are a team that is getting to the point where they are desperate for points if they want to get into the playoff hunt,” Schmid said. “They have games in hand but unless you turn those games in hand into points you’re not going to get into that race you want to be in.
“The second thing is they just changed their lineup around an awful lot. It’s a little bit tougher to prepare because you’re not sure what their lineup is going to look like.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.