The Seattle Sounders have won three games in a week before. They’ve won at least three in a row on the road, as well. But they’ve never before won three road games in seven days, something they have a chance to do on Saturday when they take on the Columbus Crew.
The Sounders should be reasonably well rested and are as close to full strength as they’ve been all year.
Here’s what we’re hoping to see:
The taste of sweet, sweet revenge
2020 ended on a pretty massive down-note for the Sounders, getting smoked by Columbus in the MLS Cup final. But as the old hymn goes, when there’s pain in the night, joy comes in the morning. The Sounders are flying right now and the Crew are, well, bad. A regular-season win obviously doesn’t make up for losing a final, but clowning on Columbus would be a big statement on the quest to win silverware in 2021. - Mark
Keep Crew down
The Crew are in a bad place right now. They’re riding a five-game losing streak and their last home win was over a month ago on July 17. This is part of a pattern for Caleb Porter-coached teams who have never made the playoffs in consecutive seasons he’s been in charge. I have no idea if he’s remotely introspective about that kind of thing, but he does seem to understand that this season is starting to spiral. Not that I’m into schadenfreude or anything, but the Crew are in a fragile place right now and it would be satisfying to see the Sounders give them one more push to sending their season completely off the rails. - Jeremiah
Beware the cornered animal
On the other hand, the Crew are surely looking at this game as a chance to get their season back on track. As much as any win is huge right now, beating one of the league’s best at home, on short rest while missing a few key players is the sort of thing that can kickstart a season. In a similar way the Crew were able to turn the adversity they faced ahead of MLS Cup into a rally point, the Sounders need to be careful not to let them build momentum. A slow, methodical start would be just fine. - Jeremiah
Lodeiro in the starting XI
Using Nicolás Lodeiro as a substitute in the past few matches has been a cheat code. He’s been able to work out his fitness and gain match sharpness. The Columbus game is the perfect opportunity to start Lodeiro and get him 60-70 minutes or so. The Sounders have scored six goals in Lodeiro’s 99 minutes of MLS playing time and I’m excited to see what he brings to the starting XI. - Mark
Something like a first-choice squad
Speaking of Lodeiro, this will likely be as close to a first-choice lineup as we’ve seen from the Sounders all year. While unlikely, there’s even a chance that Stefan Frei could get the start and Nouhou should be available off the bench. Even without those two, Brian Schmetzer can submit a lineup with current or former All-Stars at seven spots. If you’re curious what this team is capable of, this game has the potential to give us a very good idea. - Jeremiah