Preview: Seattle Sounders Face Tough Test Against New York Red Bulls

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Sounders Face Tough Test
Darren Mattocks (left) of D.C. United and Cristian Roldan of the Seattle Sounders FC vie for the ball in Seattle's 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Photo taken by Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (June 10, 2018) — The Seattle Sounders earned a much-needed victory over D.C. United on Saturday.

The three points have bumped Seattle up to 10th place, above the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids. However, the three points were earned playing the last place team in the Eastern Conference.

Seattle was off to a slow start last season.

Preview: Seattle Sounders Face Tough Test at New York Red Bulls

Eventually, the team ended up back in the MLS Cup finals for the second year in a row. Seattle eventually fell to Toronto FC but impressed MLS fans with their turn-around to what was once dubbed a deflated season.

The same kind of talk is going around this year.

Seattle has been banged and bruised with injuries. However, with several attackers back in the mix, Jordan Morris showing signs of improvement and only two players heading to the FIFA World Cup, Seattle has a chance to turn their season around.

However, a tough task stands in their way.

Seattle will head to the east coast to take on the New York Red Bulls. Currently, the Red Bulls are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC
2018 MLS Regular Season
Red Bull Arena
June 13, 2018 – 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+

What to Watch for

Nicolas Lodeiro and Víctor Rodríguez

The two midfielders are officially back for Seattle.

Both midfielders have missed out on chunks of the season due to injury. While Lodeiro was nursing a toe injury, Rodríguez had to have a minor procedure on his knee.

Despite missing out on the 23-man World Cup roster for Uruguay, Lodeiro’s confidence is still high. One of Seattle’s captains, Lodeiro scored Seattle’s first goal in the D.C. United victory.

After Saturday’s match, Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer called Lodeiro a “world-class player.”

“For the team to respond as it did is testament to not only Nico’s brilliant left foot but also his commitment to trying to help the team progress,” Schmetzer said. “It was a combination of him wanting to help the team win and putting the team in a good spot and actually delivering and finishing the play.”

While he’s disappointed about not making the final cut for the World Cup, Lodeiro said it’s “important to turn the page and now start thinking to do the best for the Sounders.”

“In the two years I’ve been here, both the year we were champions and when we made it to the final, we were always very strong playing at home and winning,” Lodeiro said. “That’s not been happening, so it’s nice to be back to winning at home.”

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

This is the shortest list for the Seattle Sounders this entire season.

With only two players on the injury list, Seattle is still without Jordan Morris. However, Morris has shown signs of improvement. This past week, the Sounders presented a video on their Instagram and Snapchat stories of Morris running with a trainer.

It was his first running on the pitch action since his February 22 injury.

Handwalla Bwana is the other name on the injury list. For the last two weeks, the young midfielder has been listed as questionable with a right foot injury.

There is no timetable on his return.

New York Red Bulls

Meanwhile, New York has a shorter injury list.

Only one player is on the list. Kyle Duncan, a defender, is out for the year with a torn ACL. The defender suffered the injury back on March 31.

There is no set timetable for his return.

Previous Meeting: Seattle 3, New York 1

The last time the two sides met up was early in the 2017 season.

On March 19, 2017, the Sounders hosted the Red Bulls at CenturyLink Field. This year, the tables are turned with the match on the east coast.

Last year, Seattle claimed a 3-1 victory. Clint Dempsey began the scoring campaign with a penalty kick past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles. Jordan Morris and Harry Shipp also added goals in front of 45,600 fans.

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored for the Red Bulls.

Prediction: Seattle 2, New York 2

While it’s hard to bet against Jesse Marsch and the Red Bulls, there is a chance that Seattle could pull some sort of stunner.

Lodeiro has some confidence back and having Rodríguez joining him in the midfield is a boost. The additions have allowed Cristian Roldan to move back into a defensive midfield position.

Seattle’s defense has been strong, too. In the seven matches that Kim Kee-Hee has started alongside Chad Marshall, the Sounders have only given up four goals.

Defense hasn’t been the issue for Seattle this season; instead, Seattle’s woes lie within the midfield and attacking game. There has been a lack of finishing. Securing a victory over D.C. United, while certainly not the most difficult opponent in MLS, has built confidence.

Never forget that Seattle started out last season with a 5-6-4 record, yet went on to the MLS Cup finals.

While Seattle will yearn for three points against New York, it’s a tough match on the road. Even earning a tie will be a positive for Schmetzer and company.

Century mark! 💯 Congrats to Cristian Roldan on his 100th @mls match!

A post shared by Seattle Sounders FC (@soundersfc) on

MAIN PHOTO:

“Darren Mattocks (left) of D.C. United and Cristian Roldan of the Seattle Sounders FC vie for the ball in Seattle’s 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Photo taken by Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.”

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