What You’ll Watch
The Seattle Sounders return home to take on the defending MLS Cup Champions, Atlanta United FC. This is the like regular season meeting between these two clubs. Last year, Seattle battled to a 1-1 draw in Atlanta.
Atlanta currently sits in third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-7-3 (30 points in 19 games played; 1.58 ppg) and the Sounders still remain in third place in the Western Conference with a record of 9-5-5 (32 points in 19 games played; 1.68 Last time out, Seattle defeated the Crew 2-1 and Atlanta defeated Saint Louis FC 2-0 in US Open Cup action this past Wednesday.
This will be the third all-time meeting between these two and the series record is 0-0-2. In 2017, the two fought to a 0-0 draw at CenturyLink Field.
Tale of the Tape
Last Five: L-L-W-L-W
Leading Goal Scorer: Raul Ruidiaz, six goals
Assist Leader: Nicolas Lodeiro, eight assists
Last Five: W-L-W-L-T
Leading Goal Scorer: Josef Martinez, 12 goals
Assist Leader: Pity Martinez, four assists
Injury Report, Suspensions and International Duty
Out: George Bello (right adductor injury), Ezequiel Barco (knee sprain), Hector Villalba (knee injury), Kevin Kratz (calf injury),
Questionable: Florentin Pogba (hamstring injury)
Suspensions: Jeff Larentowicz
International Duty: N/A
Out: Will Bruin (torn ACL)
International Duty: N/A
REFEREE: Robert Sibiga
AR1: Nick Uranga
AR2: Eduardo Mariscal
4th: Joe Dickerson
VAR: Ricardo Salazar
AVAR: Joshua Patlak
What to Watch
- There might not be a team harder to figure out that Atlanta United has been this year. Coming off their MLS Cup victory last year, they went through some serious changes. Out was coach Tata Martino, in was Dutchman Frank de Boer. Out was Designated Player Miguel Almiron, in was new talisman Pity Martinez. There were several other changes as well, but these were the two that promised to define a new era for Atlanta United.
- It did not start well. After being eliminated relatively early in the Concacaf Champions League, United were winless in their first four league games and found themselves just 1-3-2 after six. They followed that up with five straight wins to right the ship but they’ve gone 3-4-1 since. For all the ups and downs, though, they’d be even with first-place Philadelphia Union if they won their two games in hand.
- Perhaps the most interesting thing about this year’s team is that they are almost unrecognizable in terms of playing style to how they played during most of Martino’s tenure. What was at times a run-and-gun team is now one seemingly more focused on limiting opponents’ chances. Their 27 goals is actually in the bottom half of the league, but their 23 goals allowed ranks as the sixth fewest.
- The biggest surprise is probably the degree to which Martinez has struggled to adapt to MLS. In 18 appearances, he has just two goals and four assists, while only logging 90 minutes four times.
- Josef Martinez, however, just continues to bang goals away. He’s not on the same sort of pace that allowed him to shatter the single-season record last year, but he’s still got 12 in 16 appearances and is on a four-game scoring streak in which he’s found the back of the net seven times.
- The recently acquired Justin Meram has also been on quite a run lately with three goals in his past two games. Meram has given Atlanta the sort of wide threat they’ve lacked for much of the year, and especially since Ezequiel Barco went down with an injury.
- The Sounders catch Atlanta at what seems to a good time, though. United opted to use what was essentially a first-choice XI in their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against St. Louis FC, which means de Boer will have to choose between using his starters for the third time in eight days or resting them. Atlanta is also on a four-game road losing streak that stretches back to May 15, while the Sounders have built a 7-0-2 record at CenturyLink Field this year.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, July 14 @ 12:55 PM
Location: CenturyLink Field — Seattle, WA
Streaming: YouTube TV, ESPN+ (out of market, affiliate-link)
Radio: 950 KJR AM (English), El Rey 1360AM (Spanish)
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