The Seattle Sounders are hosting 2018 MLS expansion franchise LAFC in their inaugural match on Sunday, March 4. Here is everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 2 p.m. PT at CenturyLink Field (TICKETS).
WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed live on YouTube TV.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The game will air on 950 KJR AM and in Spanish on El Rey 1360AM.
2018 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: First match for each team.
ALL-TIME HISTORY: This is the first match between these two teams.
AT THE HELM: Former United States men’s national team manager Bob Bradley will lead LAFC in their first season. Bradley led Sounders forward Clint Dempsey and the U.S. from 2006-11 after leading the Chicago Fire and New York MetroStars during MLS’ infancy. He then went on to manage the Egyptian national team, Norwegian club Stabæk, French club Le Havre and English Premier League side Swansea City.
RETURN TO SEATTLE: The match will bring the return of 2017 Sounders players Tyler Miller and Calum Mallace, as well as Aaron Kovar, who is on a full-season loan with LAFC. Miller spoke about his return to Seattle here.
HOME DOMINANCE: The Sounders enter Sunday with an astonishing 22-1-7 record at CenturyLink Field since Brian Schmetzer took over as head coach in summer 2016. The only loss came to Toronto FC last May.
HOME OPENER SUCCESS: The Sounders sport a strong 6-3-0 record in home openers in their nine MLS seasons. Seattle defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-0 in the opener at CenturyLink Field last year.
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLFF: Offseason acquisition Magnus Wolff Eikrem could potentially make his MLS debut on Sunday after impressing in his Sounders debut Thursday night against Santa Tecla FC and successfully getting his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate squared away. He was the 2016 Allsvenskan Midfielder of the Year and brings incredible attacking prowess in the middle of the field.
OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER: LAFC signed Mexican international Carlos Vela and 19-year-old Uruguayan attacker Diego Rossi as their first two Designated Players. They also added 20-year-old Colombian midfielder Eduard Atuesta, winger Latif Blessing, forward Marco Ureña and veteran midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
YOUTUBE TV: LAFC announced YouTube TV as their official jersey sponsor for 2018 and local television coverage, while the Sounders recently announced a partnership with YouTube TV as well to make the platform the official streaming partner of the club.
NOTABLE SOUNDERS INJURIES: Forward Jordan Morris is out for the season after tearing his ACL in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 match against El Salvador’s Santa Tecla FC last Thursday. Starting right back Kelvin Leerdam (leg), captain Osvaldo Alonso (quad) and Víctor Rodríguez (TBD) are all not expected to factor on Sunday.
NOTABLE LAFC INJURIES: Bradley did not sound confident that defenders Laurent Ciman (MCL) or Omar Gaber (groin) would be healthy for Sunday’s match. It does sound like Vela, who was substituted off in their last friendly against Sacramento Republic with leg tightness, will be ready and available.
PROJECTED LAFC LINEUP (4-5-1): Miller; Beitashour, Zimmerman, Jakovic, Moutinho; Feilhaber, Atuesta, Rossi, Vela, Blessing; Ureña