The Seattle Sounders host Sporting KC in a second straight nationally-televised match. The two teams have historically played very competitive matches with the Sounders holding a slight historic advantage but Sporting KC having the better of the rivalry since 2015. Here’s what you need to know:
Injuries haven’t been at all kind to the Sounders this season. Although João Paulo’s season-ending ACL injury is the most notable, they’ve had a consistent string of them both before and after that. A slew of players have been added to the injury report in the past couple weeks who will be unavailable on Saturday, including Raúl Ruidiaz (Hamstring), Xavier Arreaga (Hamstring), Obed Vargas (Lower Back), and Josh Atencio (Health & Safety Protocols). Not at all ideal, but a good chance for bench players to prove their worth.
Of course, injuries haven’t been kind to SKC, either. Designated Players Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido have both suffered season-ending injuries, and neither have, or will, make a MLS appearance in 2022. On top of that, defender Kortne Ford is not expected to dress after suffering a concussion in SKC’s latest match.
The visitors are operating on minimal rest
SKC had U.S. Open Cup action on Wednesday night against Union Omaha, so they did not get the luxury of a week-long break like the Sounders did. Wednesday’s match was not very highly contested though, as SKC walked away with an emphatic 6-0 victory. The preferred front three of SKC, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, all started against Omaha, as well as the midfield trio of Remi Walter, Cameron Duke, and Felipe Hernandez. There could be some question marks around the ability of those specific players to play an entire 90 minutes, but only time will tell.
SKC off to a slow start
Calling SKC’s 2022 MLS season bad would be an understatement. It has been terrible, especially for their standards. Until last week’s upset against Nashville SC at GEODIS Park, SKC was sitting dead last in the Western Conference and 27th place in the Supporters’ Shield standings. The three points gained in Nashville temporarily pushed them past San Jose and Portland into 12th place, but both teams have a game in hand. A result against Seattle this weekend will be crucial in SKC’s season redemption hopes, so expect them to throw everything at it.
The Sounders would surely love to extend their MLS post-season appearance streak to 14, and home matches like this one are a very important part of doing so. The CCL championship will surely stand out as the highlight of the Sounders 2022 season, but what makes this club so special is their hunger for more. More trophies are on the line, so the Sounders will throw every resource they have at it.
Currently, Seattle sits in 7th place with at least one game in hand on every team surrounding them. It’s a great position to be in because not only are they in a playoff position but there is a shrinking margin for error.
Sounders have struggled in this match-up recently
Seattle vs SKC at Lumen Field has not been a favorable match-up for the home team in recent years. SKC is unbeaten in this fixture since Sept. 1, 2018 when the Sounders won 3-1. In the three games since, SKC has won every single one. This weekend's game will be a good chance to steer the history books back in the direction of the Sounders.