Barring some last-minute decision or change, the Seattle Sounders will take the field on Sunday in their first match at CenturyLink Field in nearly six months when they face Los Angeles FC. After not playing on Wednesday, the things we’d like to see remain largely unchanged aside from a few details about the need for rotation and the new environment they’ll be playing in.
Make a statement
Strikes, boycotts and protests are a means to an end, not an end unto themselves. In that light, it should not be entirely surprising that the weekend games are going forward after players forced most of Wednesday’s games to be called off. Following conversations with league officials, players seem to feel as though they’ve made their point and gotten some commitments to push the cause of racial justice forward. Some of that will hopefully be on display Sunday.
Keep the points rolling
From a purely competitive standpoint, the Sounders got a bit of a break by not having to play their midweek game. They’ll now be on full rest for this match. While LAFC will be equally well rested, the Sounders need to take advantage of this opportunity. LAFC will be missing Carlos Vela and the Sounders will be playing at CLink for the first time since early March. They should be able to play this game with something approximating a first-choice group and have the momentum of their win over the Timbers still on their side.
Get off the schneid
Given their win in last year’s Western Conference finals, it’s easy to forget that the Sounders’ still have never beaten LAFC in the regular season or at home. Granted, this is only the third time the Sounders have hosted LAFC, but they’re still the only MLS team to have played here without ever losing. Now’s a good time to change all that in one fell swoop.
Feed the bear
It would be mildly shocking of Will Bruin starts against LAFC, but that doesn’t mean he won’t factor in. Bruin is proving to be perfectly potent as an impact sub, perhaps best showcased by his performance against the Timbers in which his first five touches all led to scoring chances. Whenever he comes on, the Sounders need to figure out how to get him involved as quickly as possible.
Attack the weak link
For all of LAFC’s firepower, they still seem to be a bit of a mess on defense. Perhaps the spot most ripe for exploitation is converted right back Tristan Blackmon. Jordan Morris is the Sounders’ most dynamic attacker and should have the advantage in this matchup. Last week, Cristian Pavón had seven successful dribbles, several of them against Blackmon. If Morris can even do half of that, the Sounders should have a field day.