Sounders FC vs. New England Revolution
MLS Regular Season
Sunday, May 11; 3 pm PT; Gillette Stadium
TV/Radio: Q13 FOX; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)
Two of the hottest teams in MLS will go head-to-head at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. It's the only match of the season between MLS-leading Sounders FC and a New England Revolution side that was tied atop the Eastern Conference entering play on Saturday.
Sounders FC is riding a club-record five-match winning streak and the Revs are 3-1-1 in the last five matches, so when they meet for the only time this season it will shape up to be a good matchup.
"They're a team that started slowly, but they're on a good run lately," Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. "I think both teams are good offensive teams. They have guys with good skillsets that are technically pretty clean. I think it's going to be a team where you're going to see both teams get chances."
While both teams have been playing well lately, how Seattle and New England got to those records lately is very different. Sounders FC's matches have been high-scoring affairs, with just two matches this year seeing fewer than three goals scored by both teams combined. The Revolution, meanwhile, play much more low-scoring contests, with six of its nine matches finishing with fewer than three goals in the combined score.
That is due, in large part, to the hard-to-solve 4-1-4-1 formation implemented by Head Coach Jay Heaps.
"We have to be prepared for a packed midfield. They're going to try and press us out of that, but that also means that we find some space on the other end of the field and we can get at them a little bit," Schmid said. "We've got to be prepared to play the ball through the middle a little bit quicker."
Built around an attack that features midfielders Lee Nguyen, Daigo Kobayashi, Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez and rookie forward Patrick Mullins, the Revs have a young and diverse team, but one that has seen its share of MLS matches.
"They are young, but with a lot of experience. I think they play older than their team," Seattle captain Brad Evans said. "I think they're a good team and they've gotten a few good results this year. They'll be looking to push at home, especially when they know that we've had a mid-week game and the legs might be tired from traveling across the country. I think the first 15-20 minutes we'll have to weather the storm."
Sounders FC had a rigorous week, earning victories over FC Dallas on May 7 and the Philadelphia Union on May 3 before making a cross-country flight for Sunday's match against the Revolution, completing a stretch of three matches in nine days.
Although Schmid hinted at using a rotation of players during the busy stretch, the team's health actually may have him close to full strength when Seattle takes the field at Gillette Stadium. He will likely have defenders Djimi Traore and Leo Gonzalez available, as well as the normal cast of characters that has brought Seattle to the best record in MLS at 7-2-1 and a five-game winning streak.
"We rotated a little bit, but most of the guys have come through the games pretty good. We only rotate if we feel we need to," Schmid said, noting the impact of losing potential international call-ups Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin for an extended period after the match. "We also know that this is probably the last game that we're going to have Dempsey and Yedlin and Evans, so we want to maximize the use of those players for sure going into this game."
Kickoff for Sunday's match is scheduled for 3 pm PT, with television coverage on Q13 FOX.