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Preview: Seattle Sounders vs Austin FC

Are we calling this one the Will Bruin derby?

MLS: Austin FC at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders are in the thick of their spring schedule as they play their fourth match in 10 days, hosting Will Bruin’s Austin FC on Wednesday night. The Verde come to Seattle in a wretched run of form, having gone winless in their past eight. But the last time a team down on their luck came to Seattle, they left with good fortune. Can the Sounders prevent a bottom-of-the-table team from walking away from Lumen Field with a positive result? Let’s look at how this one might go.

One key stat

4 — Austin FC has only scored four goals on the road this season.

What the Sounders will try to do

The Sounders face a big question ahead of tonight’s match around whether or not they rotate the squad. We have a recent blueprint for this, as we saw Seattle make several changes for the match last week against the LA Galaxy. One big difference, however, is that the SKC game happened on Sunday. The Sounders have an extra day of rest this week and are at home.

The most important thing for the Sounders to do is make sure the match is played on their terms. Controlled possession and limited transition opportunities. That’s what bit them hard against SKC and it can’t happen again against an equally woeful opponent.

What Austin FC will try to do

The post Concacaf Champions League hangover is very real for these first-timers. They crashed out of the CCL in March against Haitian side Violette AC and the Texas outfit hasn’t won a league game since. They are winless in eight league games, but perhaps are boosted by advancing in the Open Cup.

Austin’s main problem is they don’t score nearly enough goals for how porous their defense is. They’ve conceded the fourth most goals in the West while scoring the second-fewest. It sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but when you’re constantly in a game state where you’re trying to come from behind or pushing for a winner, it’s hard to do your “Plan A”. On top of that, they’ve been devastated by injuries.

Vibe check

Well, the vibes around this match would be a lot better if the Sounders hadn’t lost at home to the last team that visited Seattle. Sporting KC was in even worse bad shape than Austin FC and they managed to win, so, that’s not fun.

How close to full strength is everyone?

  • Austin FC’s best player, Sebastián Driussi, is still out hurt. Their top centerback Julio Cascante has been injured recently, but he featured during Austin’s match against Dallas. Can he start on short rest?
  • The Sounders are getting healthier, but will still be missing Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, and Raúl Ruidíaz.

Projected lineups

Sounders (4-2-3-1): Frei; Baker, Ragen, Yeimar, A. Roldan; Joao Paulo, Rusnak; Morris, Lodeiro, Teves; Heber

Austin FC (3-4-3): Stuver; Ring, Cascante, Vaisanen; Lundqvist, Pereira, Valencia, Gallagher; Rigoni, Zardes, Redes

What you need to know

Sounders record (1st in the West, 3rd in the Shield): 7-3-2, +10 GD

Austin FC record (12th in the West, 27th in the Shield): 2-5-4, -7 GD

Where: Lumen Field, Seattle, WA

Kickoff time: 7:39pm PST

Commentators (AppleTV): Keith Costigan and Maurice Edu

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