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)
Sounders FC squares off with the New England Revolution in their only meeting of the year on Sunday in Foxboro, Mass. Here are three matchups to watch as Seattle looks to extend its five-game winning streak and maintain its unbeaten road record against one of three teams tied atop the Eastern Conference.
Clint Dempsey vs. the Revs
Dempsey is facing his former team for the first time after playing his first three professional seasons at Gillette Stadium from 2004-2006. This will also be his last match for Seattle before departing to join the U.S. National Team in preparations for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Just how those elements factor in for the Sounders star and U.S. captain is yet to be seen, but Dempsey is the leading scorer in MLS with eight goals and three assists and few teams have been able to do anything to slow down that torrid pace thus far. Though he hasn't registered a goal or assist in the last two matches, he has been highly influential in Seattle's attack to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Lee Nguyen vs. Osvaldo Alonso
New England plays in a 4-1-4-1 formation and Nguyen plays in the middle of the midfield four along with Daigo Kobayashi. After notching four goals and seven assists in 2013, Nguyen already has four goals to lead the Revs this season. He has a goal in each of the last three matches for New England and it will be up to Alonso to make sure he doesn't maintain that stretch. He has been kept quiet in two prior meetings against Seattle, but with the tear he is on, that could change on a moment's notice.
Seattle's explosive offense vs. New England's disciplined defense
With 22 goals scored and 14 against, Sounders FC has the highest scoring games in MLS (tied with FC Dallas) as 36 total goals have been scored in 10 matches, while New England plays among the lowest-scoring matches, with 19 total goals nine matches (nine for, 10 against). In addition to Dempsey, Obafemi Martins has four goals and six assists, Lamar Neagle has four goals and three assists and Kenny Cooper has three goals and one assist. That attacking foursome has led Seattle to the league-lead in goals scored and propelled it to the top record in MLS at 7-2-1.
Meanwhile New England's Bobby Shuttleworth is among the league's top goalkeepers with a 1.11 goals against average. Excluding a season-opening 4-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo, he and his defense have been stifling, with three shutouts and only one other match with more than one goal allowed. Part of that lies in New England's style of play, as the Revolution has only scored nine goals of its own in nine matches this season. Whose style will reign on Sunday as the teams look to break their all-time series deadlock at 3-3-2?