The Seattle Sounders are hosting LAFC on Sunday (6:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM, Sirius XM FC 157 | TICKETS) in the Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. Here are three matchups to watch:
Jordan Morris vs. Aaron Long
Jordan Morris is a player the Rave Green relies upon heavily in the attack. Not only did he finish out the regular season as the top goal scorer for his team (11), but he’s also carried his knack for scoring into the playoffs, having already tallied two goals for his team during the Round One, best-of-three series against FC Dallas. While Morris is a dangerous asset on the wing, his current role as the No. 9 has allowed him to flex his full skill set in the Sounders’ attacking system. He’ll likely face LAFC center back Aaron Long. Long has been one of the top defenders in MLS over the last five years, making frequent appearances with the U.S. Men’s National team.
Yeimar vs. Dénis Bouanga
Yeimar’s calming presence in the backline is a huge reason why the Sounders’ defense has been impenetrable this season. The Colombian international was among the few selected as a finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year award with his consistent efforts in the center back position and his 73 interceptions throughout the regular season. He’ll likely need to provide cover against winger Dénis Bouanga. Bouanaga is one of the biggest attacking threats in MLS, closing out the regular season with 20 goals. His offensive exploits earned him a spot as one of three finalists for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award.
Albert Rusnák vs. Ilie Sánchez
Albert Rusnák has been a vital component in the Sounders’ attack in the 2023 playoffs thus far. Since he’s transitioned into a more permanent role in the No. 10 position, he’s created several goal-scoring opportunities for the Rave Green, recording two game-winners during the First Round series against FC Dallas. He’ll likely be going up against defensive midfielder Ilie Sánchez. Of the 2787 minutes played this season, Sánchez has tallied 1 goal and 3 assists for the Los Angeles squad. He’s also racked up an 86.6% passing accuracy rate and a dribbling success rate of 73.3%.