Sounders FC @ Toronto FC
August 10, 2013, 4 p.m. PT; BMO Field in Toronto
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
TORONTO – Two surging teams will collide at BMO Field on Saturday as Sounders FC visits Toronto FC in the only meeting of the season.
Here are three key matchups for Seattle in the contest.
Bobby Convey vs. DeAndre Yedlin
If there is one player in MLS who can relate to Yedlin’s early success, it’s the man he will be matched up against in Convey. Toronto’s well-traveled left winger signed his first pro contract at just 16 years old and had a standout season in his second year with DC United when he had seven assists in just 12 matches. He played five seasons with DC before venturing overseas to play for Reading in England, making his return to MLS in 2009 with the San Jose Earthquakes. He has since bounced to Sporting Kansas City and now Toronto FC, where he provides great service from the left side. His veteran savvy could be a tough matchup for the youthful Yedlin, who could find space pressing up the right side behind Convey and left back Ashtone Morgan.
Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins vs. Steven Caldwell and Doneil Henry
It’s a classic matchup of speed versus strength as Seattle’s forwards square off with Toronto’s center backs. The veteran Caldwell is best suited against bigger forwards who hold up play while Henry has plenty of athleticism, but uses it often to make up for positional mistakes. Seattle has found success all season in slipping forwards in behind the defense. With Toronto’s recent stinginess on that side of the ball, that success may be more difficult to come by, but the combination of Johnson and Martins can certainly create opportunities against this defense. It’s hard not to include Lamar Neagle in this group too, but with his role coming more on the left side as Johnson and Martins have gained more playing time together, he is matched up less against center backs outside of some interchange with Seattle’s two forwards. Of note, Johnson has one previous appearance at BMO Field, scoring the first goal in the stadium while playing for the Kansas City Wizards in 2007.
Clint Dempsey vs. expectations
The U.S. National Team captain will make his debut for Seattle on Saturday. Head Coach Sigi Schmid said as much after training in Toronto on Friday. How quickly he is able to make an impact for his new club is yet to be seen, but the 30-year-old superstar is certain to have the eyes of MLS on him in his first match in the league since heading to Fulham in England after the 2006 season. When he enters the match and where he plays on the field will be a point of attention.