The Seattle Sounders are hosting the Houston Dynamo in their first meeting of 2021.
Here are three matchups to watch:
Kelyn Rowe vs. Memo Rodríguez
With Cristian Roldan away with the United States national team, it’s likely that Rowe will step back into the starting lineup in central midfield alongside João Paulo and Josh Atencio. The Federal Way, Wash., native has fared very well in his first season in Seattle, and he’ll have a strong challenge against Rodríguez, one of MLS’ most underrated midfielders. Whomever wins this battle in the center of the park will go a long way in determining Wednesday night’s outcome.
Jimmy Medranda vs. Zarek Valentin
Medranda started as an advanced left midfielder in Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s 3-4-2-1 formation on Sunday. It’ll be his job to try and fill the space underneath Raúl Ruidíaz and drag out Valentin at right fullback. If Medranda can do that effectively, it’ll not only open more room for Ruidíaz across the back line, but also allow Brad Smith more space to operate on the left flank where he’s been so effective all year.
Alex Roldan vs. Darwin Quintero
Quintero has played just over 100 minutes this season and has yet to start, but the 33-year-old Colombian is still an elite playmaker and has proven that over his four years in MLS. He had seven goals and 10 assists last season in just 22 matches. With Tyler Pasher likely away with the Canada national team, Quintero just might earn his first starting role, but even if he comes off the bench, he has the capability to win a match on his own. Roldan & Co. will need to know where he is at all times if they expect to keep him off the score sheet.