The Seattle Sounders are visiting Orlando City on Wednesday (4:38 p.m. PT; FOX 13, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) in a cross-conference clash in central Florida. Here are three matchups to watch:
Raúl Ruidíaz vs. Antonio Carlos
If the Sounders are going to come back to Seattle with three points, they will need their star striker to get on the score sheet. Ruidíaz is finally able to go 90 minutes again after battling a second hamstring injury this season, and his movement in the box will be key against Carlos. At his best, the massive Brazilian is an elite center back in MLS. He’ll have to keep his back line organized and know where La Pulga is at all times.
Nicolás Lodeiro vs. César Araújo
It will be a battle of Uruguayans in central midfield as the elder statesman Lodeiro takes on his 21-year-old countryman. Lodeiro leads the Sounders with nine assists to go along with five goals, and Seattle will lean on him to try and unlock the Lions’ defense. Araújo has been solid in defensive midfield in his first season in Orlando after joining from Wanderers in his native country this past winter on a U22 Initiative deal.
Nouhou vs. Facundo Torres
Nouhou will take on another offseason Uruguayan signing in Torres, who Orlando City poached from talent factory Peñarol for a club-record fee. Just 21, Torres already has 10 caps for the Uruguay national team and is considered one of the best prospects in South America. He’s scored five times and added eight more assists in his first season in MLS, and Nouhou will have his work cut out for him. Playing as a left center back in Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s 3-5-2 formation has been where Nouhou has shined, and he’ll need to have a strong performance on Wednesday.