Right now, it’s a trying time for Brian Schmetzer’s team.
Seattle is currently riding a two-game MLS losing streak. The Sounders were shut out by Los Angeles FC and FC Dallas to begin the season.
However, Seattle has had two back-to-back seasons with slow starts. Two years ago, they won the MLS Cup title and returned to the championship last season.
It’s not how a club starts, it’s how they finish.
But, a few points to boost their standing in the Western Conference wouldn’t hurt.
Preview: Injured Seattle Sounders Facing Dangerous Montreal Impact Team
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Montreal Impact
2018 MLS Regular Season
March 31, 2018 – 10 p.m. PT
Stream: MLS Live
What to Watch for
The Sounders defense has had some rough patches this season.
In MLS, the Sounders defense — and goalkeeper Stefan Frei — have given up four goals. Three of the four were scored by FC Dallas.
At center back, Schmetzer is fairly consistent with his lineup, putting Román Torres and Chad Marshall together. However, on the left side, Schmetzer has changed his lineup around.
Against Dallas, Schmetzer started Nouhou Tolo, but has also started Waylon Francis in the position. Right now, the Sounders are testing new defenders — and even midfielder Henry Wingo — on the flanks to see who is the best fit.
This week, the Sounders’ defense has a heavy test. Montreal has a talented crop of attacking players in Matteo Mancosu, Dominic Oduro, and Ignacio Piatti.
With Torres and Marshall being the oldest on the defense, they need to lock down their young wingers.
The Injury Report
The two-match contest between the Sounders and C.D. Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions League proved costly for injuries.
The Sounders lost Nicolás Lodeiro before the second leg match even began with a right midfoot sprain. He is currently listed as questionable on the league-wide injury report.
Meanwhile, the Sounders are without four key attackers.
Jordan Morris is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, suffered on February 22. However, Osvaldo Alonso (quad injury), Victor Rodriguez (right knee sprain) and Will Bruin (concussion) are all on a week-to-week basis.
The Sounders are relying on their young talent — including midfielders Handwalla Bwana and Jordy Delem — to fill in the spots of their injured comrades.
The Impact has a much shorter list on their injury front.
Two defenders have been ruled out from Saturday’s contest. Kyle Fisher is week-to-week with a tibia injury.
Meanwhile, Zakaria Diallo injured his Achilles tendon on February 27 and has been ruled out 5-6 months.
No Dempsey, No Problem?
The Sounders have been able to acclimate without forward Clint Dempsey before.
Now, they have to adapt again, as Dempsey is serving a one-game suspension. The absence from the match comes after Dempsey was shown a straight red card against FC Dallas.
However, the last time Seattle had to adapt without Dempsey, they had Morris and Lodeiro.
Right now, Seattle’s attacking front is running out of options. Without Dempsey, Morris, and Bruin, Seattle has two healthy forwards in Lamar Neagle and Seyi Adekoya.
Dempsey’s suspension came at one of the worst times for Schmetzer.
Previous Meeting: March 12, 2017
The latest meeting between the Sounders and Impact was over a year ago. Back on March 12, 2017, the Impact took an early 2-0 lead at Olympic Stadium.
Mancosu and Piatti had Impact fans in their home stadium believed that they locked it down over Seattle. However, Lodeiro scored on a penalty kick to cut the lead in half.
The Sounders earned a point when Bruin scored in the 94th minute.
Seattle currently has a record of 2-3-1 against Montreal in all competitions.
Prediction: Seattle 0, Montreal 2
With so many injuries and one suspension, it’s hard to imagine Seattle securing any points in this contest.
Certainly, CenturyLink has an amazing turn out almost every time. However, I don’t think the 12th man and their noise is going to be enough to throw Montreal’s strikers off their game.
The biggest test for Seattle lies with their defense.
If Torres and Marshall can’t get their wingers focused, Piatti and Mancosu are going to run all over them.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) March 29, 2018