The Seattle Sounders are hosting LAFC on Sunday in their second meeting of the young 2021 Major League Soccer season. Here is everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. PT at Lumen Field (TICKETS)
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on FS1.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The match will air on 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM.
2021 RECORDS AND STANDINGS (W-D-L): Seattle: 4-1-0 (13 points, 1st West), LAFC: 1-2-1 (5 points, 11th West)
PREVIOUS MEETING: Seattle and LAFC met just three weeks ago in a 1-1 draw at Banc of California Stadium on the second matchday of the season. Eduard Atuesta opened the scoring in the second minute on a direct free kick before Brad Smith headed home an equalizer in the 54th minute.
TOP THE LEAGUE: The Sounders enter the weekend four points clear at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings thanks to a blistering start that has seen them take 13 out of 15 points. Seattle’s 4-1-0 start matches the best five-game start to a season in the club’s MLS history (2019).
STINGY DEFENSE: Much of the success the Sounders have had so far is as a result of their defensive fortitude they’ve shown in their new 3-5-2 formation. Seattle has only allowed two goals through five matches and zero from open play, both of which lead MLS.
INJURY CONCERNS: The Sounders will almost certainly be without goalkeeper Stefan Frei and midfielder Jordy Delem, each of whom exited due to injury in Seattle’s 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday. Seattle has also recently been without captain Nicolás Lodeiro (knee pain), midfielder Josh Atencio (quad strain) and defender Jimmy Medranda (hamstring strain).
FRESH LEGS: The Sounders should ideally have a strong lineup, the aforementioned injuries notwithstanding, after Head Coach Brian Schmetzer did some heavy rotation midweek. This means there very well could be the return to the starting lineup for Smith, Will Bruin, Shane O’Neill and João Paulo, all of whom began on the bench on Wednesday.
INAUSPICIOUS START IN LA: The normally high-flying LAFC have taken just five points from their opening four matches and are coming off an emotional 2-1 loss to the rival LA Galaxy last weekend. Bob Bradley’s group will be eager to earn a result in Seattle, especially because…
REVENGE MATCH: The last time LAFC stepped onto Lumen Field, the Sounders knocked them out of the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second year running.
MISSING STARS: LAFC’s limp out of the gates is due in no small part to the absence of two of the league’s best players in Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, neither of whom featured in their previous match with the Sounders a few weeks ago. Vela played just 22 minutes in the season opener and hasn’t played since, while Rossi is finally back after missing the first two matches of the season while recovering from an injury.