The Seattle Sounders are hosting LAFC on Tuesday in Round One of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Here is everything you need to know.
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PT at Lumen Field.
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.
FINAL 2020 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Sounders: 11-5-6 (1.77 PPG, 2nd West), LAFC: 9-8-5 (1.45 PPG, 7th West)
FORM GUIDE (most recent first): Seattle: WDLWD, LAFC: DLWWD
ALL-TIME POSTSEASON HISTORY: The Sounders are 1-0-0 all time in the postseason against LAFC, with Seattle winning the Western Conference Championship 3-1 last season at Banc of California.
PREVIOUS MEETING: LAFC defeated the Sounders 3-1 on Oct. 11 in Los Angeles. Nicolás Lodeiro scored a beautiful free kick, but a brace from Danny Musovski and another tally from Francisco Ginella gave the Black and Gold all three points.
RUIDÍAZ , SVENSSON RETURN: Following his return from the Peru national team, Sounders forward Raúl Ruidíaz should be available for selection if he tests negative for COVID-19. Ruidíaz tested positive while with Peru in October and because of this he is considered a “recovered person.” He will not need to quarantine upon his return to the United States, according to Sounders General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. Sounders midfielder Gustav Svensson, who was away with Sweden, will also be available for selection should he test negative, according to Head Coach Brian Schmetzer.
INTERNATIONALS MISSING: The same cannot be said for Sounders defender Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), who will miss the match while completing the mandated quarantine period. LAFC will also be without MLS Golden Boot winner and MLS MVP finalist Diego Rossi, who tested positive for COVID-19 recently while away with Uruguay along with teammate Brian Rodríguez. Rossi and Rodríguez join LAFC teammates Diego Palacios and Jose Cifuentes, who also tested positive while with Ecuador.
BEST XI: The Sounders will line up three players — Ruidíaz, Lodeiro and Jordan Morris — on Tuesday who were just named to the 2020 MLS Best XI team. Lodeiro and Morris are also finalists for the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS MVP award.
POSTSEASON ASSASSIN: ESPN broadcaster Taylor Twellman called Ruidíaz “an assassin” during last year’s MLS Cup Playoffs, and rightly so. The Peruvian Designated Player is wired for the big moment, with an eye-popping seven goals and four assists in just six career postseason matches. His brace famously sunk LAFC in last year’s Western Conference Championship to stun the Supporters’ Shield holders on their home turf.
VELA’S BACK: The 2019 MLS MVP missed most of this season via injury and for the birth of his daughter. He started the final match of the regular season, one of only seven matches and four starts all year, and scored in a 90-minute performance. While the absences of Rossi et al will hurt, Vela is capable of carrying an entire team on his own.
FEELING BETTER THAN BOB: Schmetzer famously quipped that he was “feeling better than [LAFC Head Coach] Bob [Bradley]” following the Sounders’ upset in the Western Conference Championship last year, and Schmetzer knows and expects that Bradley will have his guys out for revenge at Lumen Field on Tuesday.
“That’s a real opportunity to think back to last year in the way the season ended with a chance to see what we can do to even things up,” said Bradley.