The Seattle Sounders begin to defend their MLS crown on Sunday against the newly rebranded Chicago Fire. It should be seen as a celebration before the game. Their 2019 MLS Cup Championship banner will be unveiled, and the club has all sorts of fun activities for the fans to participate in. The jovial atmosphere should be fun, but the Sounders need a rebound performance following the shock of Thursday night.
Come out strong
Thursday night sucked. CD Olimpia scored early, and it completely changed the course of the match. The Sounders cannot let that happen again on Sunday. They need to come out strong and dominate the Fire. Should the Sounders concede an early free kick or corner kick, they need to attack the ball and show no weakness.
They need to start the game with intensity. A big reason why they were knocked out of CCL on Thursday was because they slept walked through portions of the match. That can’t happen on Sunday.
Keep the lead, keep the clean sheet
The Sounders blew two leads against CD Olimpia and allowed four goals over the two legs. They need to make sure neither of those things happens on Sunday. Keep it simple. Score the goals; don’t let the other team score the goals.
Let Joao be Joao
Probably one of the only silver linings from the two games against CD Olimpia was Joao Paulo’s performance. Two goals and an assist in your first two games ain’t bad for the recently signed DP. With Nicolas Lodeiro missing another match, the Sounders need to make Joao the focal point of their offense. If he has a good game, the Sounders will have a good game.
Raul Ruidiaz’s performances against CD Olimpia were fine, but he was scoreless through both legs. It was even worse on Thursday night when Raul was forced to drop way too deep to help build up play. Take a look at his passing map:
This is not where you want your DP striker receiving and passing the ball. The Sounders need to get Ruidiaz closer to goal so he can be dangerous.
Frei; Nouhou, O’Neill, Arreaga, Leerdam; Roldan, Delem; Morris, Paulo, Jones; Ruidiaz