The matchup between the Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United has been entirely one-sided so far, with the Sounders going 10-1-1 in the series. The Loons are flying to Seattle off the back of two straight losses, both of which were in sort of brutal fashion. Of course the Sounders didn’t fare much better in their most recent game. What’s going to happen in the Kastner Cup? Let’s take a look.
One key stat
3 - All three of Minnesota United’s wins this season have come on the road.
What the Sounders will try to do
Seattle has found themselves in a bit of a tricky injury situation. It’s not quite a crisis, but it’s not smooth sailing either. Cristian Roldan, Josh Atencio, and Raúl Ruidíaz are out on Saturday. Jordan Morris isn’t hurt, but he is coming off playing 89 minutes for the USMNT midweek and will likely be limited. So, things are a little tricky.
Thankfully the Sounders have a lot of quality depth pieces and their approach has made them one of the best teams in MLS this season. Minnesota provides them an opportunity to right a lot of wrongs from last season, or at the very least, work on what weaknesses were exploited by Portland last weekend. Even while missing a few starters, they can dominate possession while focusing on not getting beat in transition. Héber’s hold-up play should also help Léo Chú be the main threat in behind Minnesota’s back line.
What Minnesota will try to do
The Loons are currently participating in the MLS’s version of The Ewing Theory. Their best player from the last few years and someone who is always in the MVP conversation, Emanuel Reynoso, hasn’t been with the team all season. He’s been dealing with legal trouble in his home country while also seemingly wanting to transfer away from Minnesota.
Reynoso’s absence has simplified things for Adrian Heath. He’s coached the Loons into a compact and tough team to break down, leaning heavily into the underdog vibes. It’s worked well so far, especially away from home. Expect a team that’s really tough to break down and picks their moments going forward.
Last week was a doozy on the vibes scale. Getting absolutely boomed on by your most hated rival isn’t something you can shrug off in just one week, but if the Sounders are able to get a quality win this weekend against Minnesota, they’ll be a step closer to resetting the vibes. Given the absences Seattle will have, it won’t be easy.
How close to full strength is everyone?
- The Sounders are wounded but by no means does that mean they’re weak. Even if all of C. Roldan, Ruidíaz, Atencio, and Morris don’t play a minute on Saturday, Seattle will be able to field a strong lineup.
- The Loons are basically at full health. Bakaye Dibassy, a starter when healthy, is still out for them, but he’s been missing since last season.
Sounders (4-2-3-1): Frei; Nouhou, Ragen, Yeimar, A. Roldan; Joao Paulo, Vargas; Chu, Lodeiro, Rusnak; Heber
Minnesota United (4-2-3-1): St. Clair; Lawrence, Boxall, Tapias, Taylor; Trapp, Arriaga; Fragapane, Lod, Hlongwane; Garcia
What you need to know
Sounders record (3rd in the West, 5th in the Shield): 5-2-1, +9 GD
Minnesota record (6th in the West, 12th in the Shield): 3-2-2, +1 GD
Where: Lumen Field, Seattle, WA
Kickoff time: 7:39 PT PT
Commentators (Apple TV): Adrian Healey and Cobi Jones