It’s crunch time for the Seattle Sounders.
Heading into Tuesday night’s home match against FC Cincinnati (7:08 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, Prime Video, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) on the Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field, the Sounders will likely need to secure three points to keep their playoff hopes alive.
After a disappointing 2-1 road loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on September 17, the Rave Green have spent the past week fine-tuning preparations for an in-form Cincinnati side. With all of the stakes surround the match, the players and staff are ready to leave it all on the line.
“The guys that are here are motivated and have worked hard,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer told media at training on Monday. “I think we have a good tactical game plan.”
Led by former Sounder Pat Noonan, FC Cincinnati’s fortunes on the pitch have made undergone a complete reversal during the 2022 season. Entering MLS in 2019, the visitors finished bottom of the league each of their first three seasons. Ahead of the final two weeks of the regular season, they sit sixth in the Eastern Conference and are three points clear of the playoff spots.
“They’re a good team,” added Schmetzer. “Pat has a done a good job – he’s a former Sounder, so I’m happy to see that. It’s a complete turnaround from the last couple of years.”
While the Sounders will be without several key players – five guys are away on international duty and Nicolás Lodeiro is suspended on yellow card accumulation – Schmetzer did provide a positive update on the roster front, as he confirmed that club talisman Cristian Roldan will be involved after missing the last six matches with an athletic pubalgia injury.
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Roldan, whose relentless fighting spirit has become synonymous with the Sounders’ success over the last half decade, will be a crucial addition to the squad ahead of the final three matches of the season.
Seattle currently sits six points out of the final postseason spot in the West with a game in hand. Taking maximum points in the final three matches against will be paramount in securing a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the 14th consecutive season.
It all starts Tuesday against FC Cincinnati. While there might be players missing, Schmetzer is confident that a boisterous crowd at Lumen Field can lift the team to victory, potentially spurring the team on a late-season run.
“It’s just about getting a bunch of people in the stadium and these guys playing up to their potential."
You can find a full preview of Tuesday night’s match HERE.