What You’ll Watch
The Seattle Sounders finish up a brief two-game home stand as they host LAFC on Sunday. This is the second and final regular season meeting between the two teams. Just last week, LAFC defeated Seattle 4-1 in LA.
LAFC still remains at the top of the Western Conference standings with a record of 7-1-1 (22 points in nine games; 2.44 ppg) and the Sounders sit in third place with a record of 5-1-2 (17 points in seven games played; 2.13 ppg). LAFC didn’t play a mid-week game and are well rested for this encounter.
This will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two teams. The Sounders are still looking for their first victory against LAFC.
A Tale of the Tape
Leading Goal Scorer: Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz and Kelvin Leerdam, three goals each
Assist Leader: Nicolas Lodeiro, six assists
Leading Goal Scorer: Carlos Vela, ten goals
Assist Leader: Mark-Anthony Kaye and Vela, five assists
Injury Report, Suspensions and International Duty
Out: Danilo Silva (right hamstring strain), Javier Perez (groin strain) and Alejandro Guido (right quad strain)
Questionable: Steven Beitashour (left knee soreness), Rodolfo Zelaya (right soleus strain) and Adama Diomande (right hamstring strain)
International Duty: N/A
Out: Victor Rodriguez (concussion) and Gustav Svennson (left hamstring strain)
Questionable: Raul Ruidiaz (right heel contusion), Will Bruin (left hamstring strain), Chad Marshall ( right knee inflammation) and Nouhou (left ankle sprain)
International Duty: N/A
REFEREE: Ted Unkel
AR1: Jason White
AR2: Jeffrey Greeson
4th: Michael Radchuk
VAR: Hilario Grajeda
AVAR: Cameron Blanchard
What to Watch
- First off, if you want to read a thorough scouting report of LAFC, we highly suggest you go over to our story titled “How to Sounders can contain Eduard Atuesta and beat LAFC.” If you need a TL;DR, here you go: Do a better job of shutting down the middle of the park. In their last meeting, that was basically left up to Gustav Svensson and Cristian Roldan. Nico Lodeiro was caught too far upfield and wasn’t particularly effective in any case. One solution is having one of the wide midfielders pinch in. Jordy Delem, who’s likely to start in place of the injured Svensson, may also be able to help out.
- Of course, this offers the potential trade-off of giving Carlos Vela too much room. The Sounders tried double-teaming Vela early on last week, but he still managed to score a goal in the 12th minute. The Mexican international is arguably the most talented player in MLS and the early frontrunner for MVP, so giving him anything like a free run is not a good idea. One possible solution would be actually forcing him to defend, ideally with quality runs from Brad Smith. This may also be an argument in favor of giving Handwalla Bwana another start on the left-hand side, even if that comes with some defensive risk.
- As good as LAFC looked the last time these two teams met, it is worth keeping in mind that they are a significantly different team when they play on turf. Including their 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier this year, they are now 2-4-0 all-time (although one of those wins was at CenturyLink Field last year). LAFC have been outscored 13-5 in those games, which probably helps explain why Bob Bradley complains about turf whenever he gets the chance (like after last week’s win over the Sounders). In contrast, LAFC are +42 on grass all time.
- This is not a must-win game for the Sounders in any sort of literal sense. But they do need to figure out a way to be competitive, short-handed or not. Those injuries have changed the equation a bit, though. While it seemed valuable to play LAFC straight up last week just to sort of see where they stand, getting out of this game without too badly bruised of an ego has to be among the chief goals. If they can also figure out how to get three points, all the better.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, April 28 @ 12:30 PM
Location: CenturyLink Field — Seattle, WA
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Radio: 950 KJR AM (English), El Rey 1360AM (Spanish)