Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution
2017 MLS Match Preview
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Washington
Saturday, April 29 – 10 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE in the US, Canada
Both the Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution stand on nine points, but only one of the two sit about the red line nearly two months into the season.
That'd be Saturday's hosts, who've played one fewer game and welcome the Revs after a dominating 3-0 win on the road against the LA Galaxy that raised a few eyebrows. New England, meanwhile, are coming off back-to-back draws at home against D.C. United and the San Jose Earthquakes, a pair of disappointing results for a team for which a playoff return is the expectation.
A road win in Seattle will be hard to come by for the Revs, who've only collected three points once at CenturyLink Field and haven't scored there since 2011. The Sounders are looking for consecutive victories for the first time this season, and will do so boasting an attack that finally looks as potent in practice as it does on paper.
That was the Seattle team we were expecting. The Sounders were rampant during the first half against the Galaxy, in large part thanks to the rampaging runs of Jordan Morris and rugged hold-up play of Will Bruin. Oh, and Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro were good, too.
Brian Schmetzer's team completed 552 passes and barely put a foot wrong. All part of the plan, and all of it should be frightening for opposing defenses hopeful Lodeiro's 2016 was a mirage and Dempsey's fitness might take some time to approach 100 percent.
“When you’re having good possession I think everybody has more confidence everybody’s getting more touches,” Dempsey told the Seattle Times on Thursday. “If you’re having sequences where you’re keeping 20 passes or more then you’re only growing in confidence in the game.
"It just goes to show you that by keeping good possession — not only in the attacking third but by moving it around in the back and getting teams out of position …is something you can be productive with," he continued. "It’s good for fans to see and a good style of play to watch. It’s especially the style you’re going to need when the conditions get warmer as the summer draws closer.”
It's not warm yet, but Dempsey appears to be on the brink of getting hot in front of net. He leads Seattle with three goals, but he could have a couple more after banging the post four times in seven games so far in 2017.
“It’s a positive,” Dempsey said. “I don’t see it as a negative. You’re getting closer. Getting good looks in front of the goal. You’re dangerous. It’s just a matter of time. I’ve got three goals, hit the woodwork four times and created a goal the last game for Jordan. So, those are good chances that are getting created and I just see it as things to build upon,”
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT – D Oniel Fisher (left hamstring strain), D Chad Marshall (lower back pain), D Nouhou Tolo (left shoulder dislocation); QUESTIONABLE – M Aaron Kovar (groin surgery), D Brad Evans (calf muscle strain), D Roman Torres (left hamstring strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei – Jordy Delem, Gustav Svensson, Tony Alfaro, Joevin Jones – Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan – Nicolas Loderio, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris – Will Bruin
Notes: Seattle is unbeaten in 10 regular season home games (7W-3D). The Sounders have kept five clean sheets on this run, and have not conceded multiple goals in any of those 10 games. ... Nicolas Lodeiro had 103 touches in last week’s win over the Galaxy. Since June of last year, there have been 67 instances of a player having 100 or more touches in a single MLS game, and Lodeiro has been responsible for six of them. Only Michael Bradley (eight times) has had 100 or more touches more than Lodeiro in that timespan.
New England Revolution
Draws at home weren't what New England were looking for, but odds are they'd take one in Seattle given their history at CenturyLink Stadium, where they've once won once in five games all-time. Jay Heaps doesn't have injuries to deal with and the lineup seems set. Now it's all about producing and picking up points.
More than likely they'll need goals to do that, with Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen the primary culprits -- as Kamara is staying home from this trip because he's about to become a father again.
Kei Kamara (wife expecting child) did not travel with New England squad to Seattle for tomorrow night's game at CLink, per #MLS source.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) April 28, 2017
Agudelo and Nguyen are tied for the team lead with four goals apiece after Opta awarded the former his fourth following closer review of last weekend's D.C. United match.
“I got a touch on it," Agudelo said after the game. "It was all [Delamea’s] work though, so I looked at him and instinctively I just said, ‘It was basically your goal. All I had to do was tap it in.’”
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE – D Chris Tierney (hip irritation)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Cody Cropper – Andrew Farrell, Joshua Smith, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Kelyn Rowe – Xavier Kouassi, Scott Caldwell, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen – Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo
Notes: New England is winless in their last six MLS regular season away matches (5L-1D). They have been outscored 11-3 over the course of these six games. ... Kei Kamara’s assist for Lee Nguyen last weekend was only his third in his last 41 regular season matches.
- Overall: Seattle 4 wins (15 goals), New England 5 wins (17 goals), 2 draws
- At Toronto: Seattle 3 wins (8 goals), New England 1 wins (2 goals), 1 draws
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal, Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Dave Gantar