The Seattle Sounders host Orlando City SC on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM; TICKETS) in Week 11 MLS action. Here are three matchups to watch, presented by Toyota.
Jordan Morris vs. João Moutinho
Much has been made of Seattle’s ability to consistently generate quality scoring chances by overloading the left-hand side. But the right flank deserves plenty of praise, as Morris and Kelvin Leerdam have combined for seven goals and two assists. Orlando City has rolled out a 3-4-3 system in recent matches, which should suit the exploits of Seattle’s attack, and in particular, Morris.
A technically proficient and intelligent left back, the knock on Moutinho dating back to his days at Akron is that he lacks the pace and physicality to be an elite defender. Luckily for Morris, those are two traits he has in spades, which portends a favorable matchup on Wednesday night. Look for the Homegrown winger to go at Moutinho early and often, taking advantage of transition moments to attack space and advance possession.
Román Torres vs. Dom Dwyer
Former Manchester United star Nani has been a revelation for the Lions. The Portuguese attacker’s five goals and four assists account for 69 percent of the team’s offensive output this season. But with Nani likely to miss the match due to a calf injury, the goalscoring onus will fall on Dwyer, who has three goals and two assists thus far.
A physical forward with a low center of gravity, the U.S. international likes to bully center backs in his hold-up play. That’ll be a tall task on Wednesday, as Torres isn’t a defender who shies away from a challenge. If the Panamanian center back can exert his influence on Dwyer, he’ll effectively nullify the focal point of OCSC’s attack.
Raúl Ruidíaz vs. Brian Rowe
The Sounders have a great track record of racking up goals against Orlando City, with 10 goals from four previous meetings. They also have a history of scoring against goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who spent seven seasons with the Galaxy and Whitecaps prior to joining the Lions. In that sense, the stars have aligned for Seattle on Wednesday night, as Rowe is likely to start in goal for the visitors.
Peruvian striker Ruidíaz recently returned from a nagging right heel contusion. What better way to get back in the scoring column than going up against a team and a goalkeeper that the Sounders have historically dominated? With two matches under his belt since returning from injury, it’s safe to expect an offensive onslaught against OCSC from Seattle’s No. 9.