The Seattle Sounders visit FC Dallas on Saturday (5 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, Univision-Seattle, 950 KJR AM, EL REY 1360 AM) in Week 14 MLS action. Here are three matchups to watch, presented by Toyota.
Harry Shipp vs. John Nelson
FC Dallas has fielded a rotating cast of left backs in recent weeks, with Nelson taking up the mantle in Dallas’ 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. A versatile defender capable of lining up across the back four, the MLS rookie has been a steady contributor in 2019. The Generation adidas player has proved a steady option so far, but he’ll face a tough test against Shipp on Saturday. Shipp, who has two goals and two assists from 486 minutes this year, boasts a wealth of experience and a superior soccer intellect. Don’t be surprised when the veteran midfielder pinches inside, affording space for Kelvin Leerdam to push forward on the overlap and create overloads. Nelson is a promising player, but even the best outside backs struggle to cope with savvy off-the-ball movement and 2-v-1 scenarios.
Cristian Roldan vs. Bryan Acosta
With Nicolás Lodeiro suspended due to yellow-card accumulation, the keys to Seattle’s midfield will be handed to Roldan on Saturday. A box-to-box force in the middle of the park, his matchup with FCD’s Acosta will be one to watch. A technically proficient No. 8, Acosta will need to bring his A-game, as Dallas will be without two of its key players in Paxton Pomykal and Edwin Cerrillo, who are with the U.S. U-20 national team. Possessing a well-rounded game at such a young age, Roldan has stressed repeatedly that he wants to improve at dictating tempo. With the Sounders potentially missing some key players on Saturday, he’ll get an opportunity to showcase his development in this area.
Raúl Ruidíaz vs. Bressan
One of the revolving members of FCD’s back line, Bressan has put in some mixed performances at center back. The 26-year-old Brazilian is more mobile than his partner, Matt Hedges, and therefore does a bit more emergency defending. Enter Ruidíaz, who thrives on chaos with his sharp, precise, clever movement inside the box. Through Week 13, the Sounders have been awarded the second-fewest penalty kicks in the league. Bressan, meanwhile, conceded two spot-kicks in Dallas’ recent 1-1 draw with LAFC alone. Ruidíaz’s lethal form from 2018 has carried over into this season, with the forward tallying five goals and one assist from just seven starts. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Peruvian pops up on the scoresheet once again this weekend.