Clint Dempsey stares someone down — Seattle Sounders — 4/23/17

Seattle Sounders vs. Orlando City SC
2017 MLS Regular Season
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Washington
Wednesday, June 21 – 10:30 pm ET

Orlando City played one of the more dramatic matches of the season on Saturday, coughing up 1-0 and 2-1 leads to fall behind the Montreal Impact 3-2 before Jonathan Spector rose up and headed home a corner kick deep into second half stoppage to give the Lions a 3-3 home draw.

The point was a positive for Orlando head coach Jason Kreis – how his team conceded was not.

“We thought we were moving in a very positive direction, but tonight we shot ourselves in the foot, really,” Kreis said after Saturday’s match. “I felt we gave them all three goals. They were in situations where we were broken down defensively. We literally gave the ball away in poor areas of the field, and then quick transitions cost us three goals. Big, big negatives.”

The defensive issues are a headache for Orlando, but they might be just what the doctor ordered for Seattle. Despite boasting one of the most talented attacks in the league on paper, the Sounders just haven’t quite clicked into gear. They’ve scored just 19 goals all year, tied for 17th in the league. They aren’t stacking up the results, either. Seattle are in eighth in the West, and just lost 2-1 in the driving rain at New York City FC thanks in part to a controversial penalty call.

Seattle aren’t making any excuses, however. They know they need to play better as they enter a huge week with matches against Orlando and at archrival Portland on Sunday (10 pm ET; ESPN2 in US | MLS LIVE in Canada).

“No positives,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said of Saturday’s defeat. “It’s a loss.”

Seattle Sounders

Seattle are facing something of a Sophie’s choice this week in regards to squad management: Do they rotate their squad at all for Wednesday’s winnable match against an Orlando team that will be coming off a tough draw and a very long flight to the Northwest and faces a trip to Chicago on Saturday? Or do they play their first-team against the Lions, and risk one or two of their starters not being at full strength for Sunday’s Heineken Rivalry Week match at Portland?

One potential change would be to insert striker Will Bruin into the starting lineup for midfielder Harry Shipp and drop Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey down a line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

According to The Seattle Times, Schmetzer “hinted strongly” on Monday that Bruin will play a major role on Wednesday. The former Houston Dynamo man has been effective in limited playing time this year, recording four goals in just 550 minutes on the field. That’s two more than Morris in less than half the minutes.

“I think it gives us two different looks, two different dynamics. When I come in, I’m more going to link play. When Jordan’s playing up there, he’s going to get in behind and cause mayhem,” Bruin told The Seattle Times. “So, it’s good for team to not really know what we’re going to do and keep them on their toes.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Int’l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE – F Seyi Adekoya (L ankle sprain), D Tony Alfaro (L knee arthroscopy), D Brad Evans (L calf strain)

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei – Oniel Fisher, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones – Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan – Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro – Will Bruin

Orlando City SC

Orlando’s defense was a bit lacking against Montreal, but their offense was firing on all cylinders on Saturday – even without the suspended Cyle Larin. Apart from their costly isolated defensive mistakes, the Lions controlled most of Saturday’s match, dominating possession and outshooting Montreal by a wide margin. Kaká was dangerous, Giles Barnes was solid filling in for Larin, Carlos Rivas got a goal and Matias Perez Garcia even found the scoresheet.

Now we’ll have to see how many of those attacking starters get the start on Wednesday. Coming off their draining draw against the Impact, facing a series of lengthy flights and with an important Eastern Conference matchup at Chicago looming on Saturday (8:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE), Kreis might be tempted to give his squad a good rotation at Seattle.

One change he’s almost certain to make? Bringing in center back Tommy Redding for Jose Aja. Redding subbed in for Aja, whose giveaway led to Montreal’s first goal, late in the game against the Impact, and should have his feet underneath him well enough to start on Wednesday after missing six games while with the US Under-20s at the recently completed World Cup.

  • Suspended: Cyle Larin (SABH) program
  • Int’l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: None

Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Joe Bendik – Scott Sutter, Tommy Redding, Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia – Matias Perez Garcia, Servando Carrasco, Cristian Higuita, Luis Gil – Giles Barnes, Carlos Rivas

All-Time Results

  • Overall: Seattle 2 wins (7 goals), Orlando 0 wins (1 goal), 0 draws
  • At Seattle: Seattle 1 win (4 goals), Orlando 0 wins (0 goals), 0 draws


Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Dave Gantar