As you may have heard on the MLS ExtraTime podcast, the Seattle Sounders are the best team in the league and having dispatched Tigres on Tuesday, they seem disposed to make the case that they are the best on the continent. Or as Sam Jones noted in this week’s power rankings, “THEY ABSOLUTELY OBLITERATED TIGRES AND PORTLAND IN BACK-TO-BACK GAMES AND WE’RE ALL DOOMED.“ In their last two matches, the Sounders have been rolling. Yet two weeks ago we walked away with a 1-1 draw. Game on.
Seattle currently has a record of 10W-6D-3L - tied for second in the West (I’m writing on Tuesday night – so we’ll see what the Galaxy manages this evening).
The losses in July came as Seattle (like so many clubs) were struggling with starters performing for their national teams. But then Christian Roldan returned. And Lodeiro got healthier. And happy days are here again in Seattle.
Looking at the Portland match, I could make the argument that the six goals are more to do with the poor play of Portland’s keeper than the supernatural ability of the Sounders. But they weren’t all on the keeper. And the Tigres match? Lodeiro’s strike was quality.
Keys to the Match:
1) Containment: There’s no great secret here. Raul Ruidiaz has 13 goals on the campaign to lead the league (Fredy Montero has 6) and Joao Paulo has 8 assists (good for second in the league). While Lodeiro and Frei have missed time with injury and Cristian Roldan missed for the Gold Cup, Joao Paulo and Ruidiaz have played every game this season. Dallas needs to contain the assist man.
2) Yeimar – I confess that I haven’t watched a significant number of Sounders games, but I’ve noticed Yeimar. Seattle has the best defense in the league – they’ve allowed a league low 16 goals (they do seem to lead the league in several categories). Yeimar leads the defense, leads the league in interceptions, and has featured in every match for this season.
3) Coach Brian Schmetzer noted that they learned from Sporting’s match against Dallas, and the Sounders, too, intend to come to Dallas as Kansas City did and take all the points. I’ll be looking for them to press early. Let’s hope that Dallas is ready.
Line Up Prediction: 3-4-3
Montero – Ruidiaz – C. Roldan
Medranda – Paulo – Rowe – A. Roldan
O’Neill - Arreaga – Yeimar
Expect Nico Lodeiro and Brad Smith to get some minutes off the bench if Schmetzer doesn’t start them to rotate minutes for others. Schmetzer has also suggested that Nouhou and Stefan Frei will travel even if they are unlikely to feature in this match.
Look for an unseasonably mild evening – right around 80 and possibly raining.
OUT: Jordan Morris (ACL injury), Jordy Delem (right ACL tear), Stefan Frei (left knee sprain/blood clot)
QUESTIONABLE: Nouhou (left adductor strain)