The Seattle Sounders are taking on LAFC on Sunday for the third and final time of the 2020 MLS regular season. Here is everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 4 p.m. PT at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on ESPN.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The match will air on 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM.
2020 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Sounders: 9-3-3 (30 points, 1st West), LAFC: 6-6-3 (21 points, 5th West)
FORM GUIDE (most recent first): Seattle: WWWLW, LAFC: WLWLW
ALL-TIME HISTORY: The Sounders are 3-4-1 all time against LAFC, including a 1-3-0 mark on the road.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Nicolás Lodeiro scored two penalty kicks four minutes apart in the first half before Raúl Ruidíaz coolly slotted home the exclamation point in a convincing 3-0 Sounders win at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 18.
SAD ANGEL: Sunday will mark the first time the Sounders return to Los Angeles to take on LAFC since upsetting Bob Bradley’s side in last year’s Western Conference Championship. Lodeiro and Ruidíaz put on a masterclass to lead Seattle to MLS Cup for the third time in four years.
WORLD TURNING: In addition to the Sounders’ Ruidíaz (Peru), Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador) gone on international duty, LAFC will be without Golden Boot leader Diego Rossi (Uruguay), as well as winger Brian Rodríguez (Uruguay), midfielder José Cifuentes (Ecuador) and defender Diego Palacios (Ecuador).
THE CHAIN: The connection between João Paulo and Lodeiro continues to grow stronger, as the two midfielders have combined for four goals and seven assists in their last six matches.
DON’T STOP: The Sounders are on a brilliant run of form, having won three matches in a row and five of six to put themselves just four points off the Supporters’ Shield pace with a match in hand. It’s next man up for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer & Co., and Seattle’s depth responded admirably in its first test against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
LANDSLIDE: During these last six matches, the Sounders have outscored their opponents 18-5, extending their already league-leading goal differential to plus-20, five more than second place and 14 more than the next-closest in the Western Conference.
DREAMS: Despite an uneasy and crazy year off the pitch, it’s been a dream season on it for Sounders winger Jordan Morris. After scoring against RSL on Wednesday, he now has eight goals and seven assists in just 12 starts. He’s tied for fourth in MLS in goals, tied for fourth in assists and his 15 goal contributions is second. With Ruidíaz out for an extended period of time, much of the offensive onus will fall to Morris, which could boost his numbers even more.
OH WELL: LAFC get a little extra rest to prepare for Sunday’s match after their scheduled midweek tilt with the Colorado Rapids was postponed after a new confirmed case of COVID-19 within the Rapids team.
THE LEDGE: Despite sitting in fifth place entering the weekend, LAFC find themselves just two points above the playoff line. They’ve kept afloat behind a Western Conference-leading 35 goals scored, but they’re tied for third-worst in goals allowed, having conceded 30 times in just 15 matches. It won’t get easier with Palacios gone, as well as their two main scoring threats not named Carlos Vela, who is still sidelined with an injury.
GO YOUR OWN WAY: After an illustrious seven-year career with the New York Red Bulls, during which he solidified himself as one of MLS’ greatest ever scorers, Bradley Wright-Phillips signed with LAFC this past offseason and has proved an invaluable addition. The two-time Golden Boot winner has eight goals this season, including four goals and three assists in his last five matches.