The Seattle Sounders visit LAFC on Saturday in their first road match of the 2021 Major League Soccer regular season. Here is everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 3 p.m. PT at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on ESPN. You can also catch the match on 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM.
2021 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Seattle: 1-0-0 (3 points, 1st West), LAFC: 1-0-0 (3 points, 2nd West)
PREVIOUS MEETING: The Sounders knocked LAFC out of the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive year last season, ousting Bob Bradley’s side 3-1 in Round One at Lumen Field. Nicolás Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz and Jordan Morris all scored for Seattle, while Eduard Atuesta tallied for the visitors.
SEASON-OPENING SHOW: The Sounders kicked off the MLS campaign last week with a dominant 4-0 victory over Minnesota United. Seattle thrived in the second half in its new 3-5-2 formation and made a statement of intent across the league.
RUIDÍAZ LOVES LAFC: The Peruvian Designated Player has scored five goals in four career matches against the Black and Gold in all competitions, including the ultimate match-winner in last year’s postseason battle.
LODEIRO A GO?: The Sounders captain was held out against Minnesota with a left quad strain and will likely be questionable heading into this weekend as well. If he cannot go, Seattle will hope to get another strong performance from 19-year-old Homegrown Josh Atencio, who admirably filled in for Lodeiro in central midfield and earned a spot on the bench in MLS’ Week 1 Team of the Week.
FREDY FLYING: Newly reacquired forward Fredy Montero wasted no time in getting reacclimated to the Sounders (and the score sheet) in the opening week. The Colombian came on as a second-half substitute and had an assist on a Ruidíaz goal before adding a volleyed goal of his own to move back into first place all time on the Sounders’ regular-season goalscoring chart.
VELA MIXUP: LAFC star and 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela was a part of the most bizarre moment of the league’s opening weekend when he was accidentally subbed off in 22nd minute in a 2-0 home win over MLS newcomers Austin FC. Vela motioned to get treatment off the field, but Bradley mistook that as Vela calling for a sub, something Bradley admitted on the broadcast. Vela appears to be ready to go this weekend, especially after his cameo in Week 1.
ROSSI SIDELINED? Just like Lodeiro, LAFC winger Diego Rossi was questionable heading into last weekend and ultimately failed a fitness test prior to kickoff and was held out. If he’s healthy on Saturday, the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner is one of the most dangerous attacking players in the league.
BAIRD STEPS UP: Offseason acquisition Corey Baird stepped up in Rossi’s absence, scoring the match-winner on a one-timed deflected effort just past the hour mark. The former Real Salt Lake standout and 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year will look to play a major role in LAFC’s attack this year after the departures of Bradley Wright-Phillips (Columbus Crew SC) and Brian Rodríguez (on loan at Almería in Spain).