The Seattle Sounders are traveling to take on Nashville SC on Saturday night. This is the Sounders' final game against an Eastern Conference opponent and their second-to-last road game of the season. The Sounders have lost both of their previous meetings against Nashville by a score of 1-0.
Nashville currently sits 7th in the east on 44 points. They need just one more point from their final five matches to clinch a playoff spot, but with four of those five matches happening at home, there's no reason to think that they won't be pushing to move up the table. This is also their last match against a Western Conference team, a conference they've gone unbeaten against this season.
We know what's up
Every preview and recap delivered to your inbox.
No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.
Gary Smith's team does not want the ball. They want you to have it, force you into mistakes, and counterattack. They're 24th in the league in average possession per match with 47.2%. When they get the ball it's all about finding their MVP and Golden Boot candidate Hany Mukhtar. He has been involved in 25 of Nashville's 36 goals this season. Stopping him is the key for Seattle on Saturday night.
One key stat
1 - The Sounders have managed to win just one game against an Eastern Conference team since July of 2022. That was the New York Red Bulls earlier this season. They are 1-5-3 against the East in that time.
Seattle has done a fantastic job in recent weeks wrestling the vibes back in their favor. While the vibes are currently good, they're also very fragile. The Sounders are vaguely in reach of finishing first in the West, but they're also not far from losing home-field advantage in the first-round. The win against the Colorado Rapids didn't fix everything, but it did show the Sounders had the chops to do what they do best on the road in difficult situations.
Look, it'd obviously be great if the Sounders finished the season on a bit of a winning streak, but Nashville is very good at home and probably better than their record suggests. Seattle has mostly struggled against Eastern Conference teams, so a point on Saturday would be just fine. A win, though? That would be awesome.
How close to full strength is everyone?
- The Sounders are about as healthy as they've been, but will be missing Nouhou due to yellow-card accumulation. Something else to keep an eye on: Albert Rusnák and Jordan Morris both missed most of training this week, and it's unclear how much they'll be able to play or even if they traveled.
- Defender Lukas MacNaughton is listed as questionable but otherwise Nashville is looking very healthy.
Sounders (4-2-3-1): Frei; Baker-Whiting, Ragen, Yeimar, A. Roldan; Atencio, João Paulo; Leo Chu, Lodeiro, C. Roldan; Ruidíaz
Nashville (4-2-3-1): Willis; Lovitz, Maher, Zimmerman, Moore; McCarty, Godoy; Muyl, Mukhtar, Leal; Surridge
What you need to know
Sounders record (3rd in the West): 12-9-9, +6 GD
Nashville record (7th in the East): 12-9-8, +8 GD
Where: Geodis Park, Nashville, Tenn.
Kickoff time: 5:39pm Pacific Time
Commentators (AppleTV): Callum Wilson and Ross Smith