The Seattle Sounders will take on Supporters Shield leaders LAFC at the Banc of California Stadium on Friday night. Some very high quality players will be involved in what hopefully proves to be a captivating game. Here are five things to know about the match:
There is a chance Raul Ruidiaz will be involved
Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz has missed 7 of the last 8 matches with hamstring injuries. His presence in this Sounders team directly correlates to earning positive results, so an appearance in tonight’s important match against LAFC would be a huge boost for the entire team. Ruidiaz is listed as “questionable” on the injury report, so it is still unknown whether or not he will make the squad.
LAFC top the supporters shield standings
LAFC are having a phenomenal season in MLS this year. Huge signings were made back in the offseason to get them into the spot they’re in now, and their campaign has been reinforced with more signings in the Summer window. Going into this weekend, LAFC have earned 45 points from 21 games, and have 3 points and a game in hand over 2nd place Philadelphia.
New arrivals in LA
LAFC, along with Toronto, have undoubtedly stolen the spotlight for their business over the course of the past few weeks. New acquisitions Giorgio Chiellini from Juventus and Gareth Bale from Real Madrid are beginning to settle into their new home, with Bale scoring his first goal away against SKC last week and Chiellini starting and leading LAFC to two consecutive wins. But we all know MLS for the unpredictability it exhibits. Spending resources on aging European talent doesn’t always guarantee you silverware.
Sounders have been bad against LAFC away from home in the MLS regular season
The Sounders-LAFC fixture has been somewhat predictable since LAFC entered the league in 2018. The home team comes out of the match with at least a draw, but usually a win. There have been exceptions, of course. LAFC beat the Sounders at then-CenturyLink Field in their inaugural game, and the Sounders beat LAFC at the Banc en-route to their MLS Cup win back in 2019. Since then, the home team has never lost.
We may see a formation change for the Sounders
If Brian Schmetzer opts for a change, a 5 man back line is what we may see against LAFC tonight. Nouhou would be pushed back into his preferred left-sided center-back role and Jimmy Medranda would take the wingback spot. Cristian Roldan and Albert Rusnak would start in the midfield together for the second game in a row, and Will Bruin would get the start up top. If Raul Ruidiaz is indeed available, we think he would make an appearance off the bench.