The Seattle Sounders are hosting LAFC on Saturday (1:00 p.m. PT; FOX, Watch free on Apple TV; iHeart Radio, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) in a must-watch fixture at Lumen Field. Here are three matchups to watch:
Nicolás Lodeiro vs. Ilie
The battle between the two captains will be decisive on the pitch this Saturday. Attacking midfielder Nicolás Lodiero has been influential in the early stages of the season, dictating tempo and setting up chances for teammates. The Designated Player played an instrumental role in the attack last season, tallying seven goals and 11 assists. It’ll be up to LAFC player Ilie to limit Lodiero’s role in the attack as he sits as one of the defensive midfielders for his team. In 2022, Ilie led LAFC in most minutes played (1,587), completed passes (797) and interceptions (31).
Yeimar vs. Dénis Bouanga
Despite the Sounders’ 1-0 loss last weekend, Yeimar was a crucial part in shutting down several chances coming from FC Cincinnati’s attack. The center back also contributed to the two shutouts prior to the away match, disrupting scoring opportunities from both Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids at home. A big test comes for the veteran defender this Saturday, however, as he will have to face up against LAFC center forward Dénis Bouanga. The Gabonese forward took over LAFC’s last match against New England Revolution, recording two goals and an assist for his team. This came shortly after he scored a hat-trick against Alajuelense in Leg 1 of Concacaf Champions League play.
Cristian Roldan vs. Diego Palacios
Cristian Roldan is seen as one of the key targets for the Rave Green in the build-up of the attack. With one goal in the first three games, he’s been a main component in the development of scoring opportunities for the Sounders. Roldan’s main opponent this coming match against LAFC will be outside back Diego Palacios. While it will be crucial for the Ecuadorian defender to shut down Roldan early, Roldan needs to be aware of Palacio’s ability to get up the line and enter the attack for his team. Last season, Palacio recorded one goal and seven assists for LAFC.