The Seattle Sounders are hosting Minnesota United on Friday night in the 2021 Major League Soccer season opener. Here is everything you need to know.
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. PT at Lumen Field.
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on FS1.
FINAL 2020 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Sounders: 11-5-6 (2nd West), Loons: 9-5-7 (4th West)
HOW 2020 ENDED: Seattle: Lost 3-0 at Columbus Crew SC in MLS Cup, Minnesota: Lost 3-2 at Seattle Sounders in Western Conference Final
PREVIOUS MEETING: The Sounders came from 2-0 down in last year’s Western Conference Final to advance to their fourth MLS Cup appearance in five years. In one of the greatest matches in franchise history, Will Bruin halved the deficit in the 75th minute, two minutes after coming on as a substitute. Raúl Ruidíaz equalized in the 89th minute before Gustav Svensson headed home the match-winner three minutes into stoppage time.
FANS ARE BACK!: Sounders supporters can finally return to Lumen Field in a limited capacity. Find out more information HERE.
STILL UNBEATEN: Seattle has never lost to Minnesota since the Loons entered MLS in 2017. The Sounders are 6-0-1 in all competitions and have outscored Minnesota 16-6.
ROSTER TURNOVER: This Sounders team looks a little different than the one that made a run to MLS Cup last year. Gone are the likes of Joevin Jones and Kelvin Leerdam, each of whom signed with Inter Miami, as is Román Torres, who joined Costa Rican side Cartaginés. Svensson was out of contract, and although Jordan Morris was on loan to Swansea City in the English Championship, he returned to Seattle after sustaining a knee injury while with the Welsh club.
FRESH FACES: The Sounders brought in three players with Puget Sound ties in the offseason in Seattle native Spencer Richey, Federal Way native Kelyn Rowe and former Sounders star Fredy Montero, who rejoins the club after departing in 2012.
NEW FORMATION?: Head Coach Brian Schmetzer has been tinkering with a new formation in preseason than the tried and true 4-2-3-1 he’s employed since taking the helm in 2016. This setup looks something like a two-forward set, with Bruin and Montero deployed together up top, but expect Ruidíaz to slot into of those spots against Minnesota.
RUIDÍAZ RETURNS: Speaking of Ruidíaz, the Peruvian returned to Seattle and began training on April 7. The 2020 MLS Best XI selection finished second in the Golden Boot race last season with 12 goals in 17 matches.
REYNOSO MAGIC: The Sounders will have their hands full trying to slow down Emanuel Reynoso, Minnesota’s No. 10 who finished last season on a tear, including scoring a beautiful free kick and assisting on another against Seattle in the Western Conference Final.
NEW WEAPONS: Although playmaker Kevin Molino left for Columbus in the offseason, as did forward Luis Amarilla, who signed a one-year loan deal with Ecuador’s LDU Quito, Minnesota brought in MLS veteran Wil Trapp from Inter Miami, as well as forward Ramón Ábila, who joins the Loons on loan from Argentine giants Boca Juniors.