The Seattle Sounders visit Orlando City SC on Wednesday in their first and only meeting of the season. Here's everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. PT at Orland City Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on JoeTV and YouTube TV.
HOW TO LISTEN: The match will air on 950 KJR AM and in Spanish on El Rey 1360 AM.
2018 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Sounders: 15-11-5 (50 points, 5th West), City: 7-19-4 (25 points, 11th East)
FORM GUIDE (most recent first): Seattle: WWLLW, Orlando: LDLLD
ALL-TIME HISTORY: The Sounders are 2-0-1 all-time against Orlando City, including a win in their only previous meeting on the road.
PREVIOUS MEETING: The two sides last met at CenturyLink Field on June 21, 2017, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw. Will Bruin opened the scoring in the 19th minute, lashing a shot to the near post off a lofted pass from Nicolás Lodeiro. Seattle peppered goalkeeper Joe Bendik throughout the match, but the visitors equalized in the 94th minute when Scott Sutter redirected Kaka’s free kick through traffic past Stefan Frei.
HISTORY TO BE MADE: If the Sounders win or draw in Orlando, they will secure their 10th consecutive postseason berth, tied for most in MLS history (LA Galaxy 1996-2005).
BIG BILL BRUIN: The Sounders’ target forward enters the Orlando City clash in fine form after he torched his former team, the Houston Dynamo, with a fantastic all-around performance. Bruin opened the scoring in the 18th minute, receiving the ball on the half-turn and guiding his left-footed shot into the top corner. He then set up the third goal with a cheeky dummy that created an open look for Víctor Rodríguez from close range.
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: Seattle will be missing several key players for the fixture, with Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz, Gustav Svensson and Jordy Delem all representing their respective national teams during the international break. Orlando City SC may also be without Yoshi Yotún (Peru), Amro Tarek (Egypt) and Mohamed El-Munir (Libya).
A TALE OF TWO SEASONS: Seattle and Orlando have traveled divergent paths during the 2018 season. Orlando came flying out of the gates with a 6-2-1 record, only to then go on a nine-match losing streak. OCSC has just one win in its last 21 matches. Seattle, conversely, began the season 3-9-3 before rattling off a 12-match unbeaten streak, including nine consecutive wins, and sits four points ahead of the Western Conference playoff line.
POROUS DEFENSE: The Lions have allowed 68 goals in 30 matches so far this season, second-worst in MLS behind only the San Jose Earthquakes (69). Minnesota United set the league record for goals allowed last year with 70, a number that will almost be certainly be considerably broken by year’s end.
#PlayYourKids: In each of the last two post-match press conferences, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer has alluded to giving young players minutes in preparation of the Orlando match. As a result, the team will need solid performances from the likes of Nouhou, Alex Roldan, Henry Wingo and Handwalla Bwana — he recorded his first professional assist in the 4-1 demolition of Houston — to secure three points.
CHASING HISTORY: Frei enters the cross-conference clash with a Goals Against Average of 1.00. If Seattle’s goalkeeper, who is in the midst of a statistically dominant campaign, can close out the season with three consecutive shutouts, he’ll set a new club record with the lowest GAA in club history (.91) for all qualifying goalkeepers.
SWEET, SWEET VÍCTOR-Y: Rodríguez has three goals and one assist in his last two starts and will be instrumental to the team securing a result on the road in Orlando.