If the Seattle Sounders ( 0-3, 0pts) are going to score an MLS goal or two and win a regular season game they will need to accomplish the double feat against the Western Conferences best team in Sporting Kansas City ( 4-1-1, 13pts). And did I mention that old friend and former Rave Green captain Brad Evans now plays for Sporting?
Sunday’s clash at Children’s Mercy Park ( 4 p.m. ) in Kansas City is a must-win match for the Sounders. While a loss or tie will not lose the season for the Sounders an unfavorable result will leave the team chasing the season for the foreseeable future and looking to strike gold for the second time in Club history. The Sounders started out the season 0-3 in 2016 when they went on to win the MLS Cup. While the MLS season is one of the longest in proffesional sports, a 0-4 start could bring some loud rumblings from the Rave Green faithful
The Gutierrez Factor
The Sporting attack has scored a league-high ten goals is lead by MLS Player of the Month for March Felipe Gutierrez. The versatile Chilean international has scored five goals this season and is tied for the league lead with Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez.
Gutierrez is more than just a goal scorer, in addition to the five goals scored, the box to box midfielder leads the League with three game-winning goals while ranking second in shots on target (10), second in tackles won (16) and 11th in duels won (37).
With an injury and suspension are that is longer than your romance novel, Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmezer will be hoping the return of Osvaldo Alonzo from a quad strain injury will ignite a Sounder attack that has yet to score an MLS goal this season. This will be Alonzo’s first game of the season so the amount of time he participates might not be a full ninety. A healthy and mostly fit Ozzzi could be the difference in not only neutralizing Gutierrez but in distributing the ball to Nicolas Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan to initiate the Sounder attack further up the field.
The Sounders will be without Clint Dempsey, and Kelvin Leerdam due to red card suspensions and Victor Rodriguez is still recovering a knee sprain. Midfielder Harry Shipp suffered a leg injury during the teams Friday afternoon practice session and is not expected to play.
Sounders FC is 8-5-3 all-time against Sporting KC in MLS play, including a 4-2-2 record at CenturyLink Field. The two sides split last season’s pair of matchups, with the Rave Green falling 3-0 at Children’s Mercy Park on May 17 before a 1-0 win in Seattle on August 12.
|Seattle Sounders||Sporting Kansas City|
|Goalkeeper||Frei (1.67)||Melia (1.5)|