Preview: Seattle Sounders face first of two rough road tests vs. New England

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Photo Credit: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (July 7, 2018) – This isn’t a rivalry by any means.

However, the intensity of the Seattle Sounders match against the New England Revolution will be high. The two teams don’t have many qualms with each other. It’s not like when Portland comes to town for Seattle.

Preview: Seattle Sounders face first of two rough road tests vs. New England

However, Seattle has a lot to prove right now.

The club is currently fighting to climb up the MLS Western Conference table. Throughout the season, Seattle has never earned a spot higher than ninth place. But, realistically, the Sounders do have a shot to make the playoffs.

Right now, the team sits in 10th place with 15 points.

Sixth place is the cut off for the playoffs and the spot is currently held by the  Vancouver Whitecaps. Right now, the Whitecaps have 23 points.

Seattle has two-straight road tests in the next seven days. Tonight, they face off against the Revolution, a team that currently holds a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the road task won’t get easier for Seattle, as they’ll face first-place Eastern Conference club, Atlanta United, after New England.

Buckle up, Sounders fans. The team could either pull off a major surprise or go home with lingering questions about a dull season.

New England Revolution vs. Seattle Sounders FC
2018 MLS Regular Season
Gillette Stadium
July 7, 2018 – 7:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+

What To Watch For

Víctor Rodríguez and Will Bruin

Ever since Víctor Rodríguez returned from injury, he’s been a start for Seattle.

The Spanish midfielder has started five out of his six appearances this season, scoring once. His first assist came on Seattle’s Fourth of July victory over the Colorado Rapids.

Whose goal did he assist? None other than Will Bruin.

Bruin scored twice against the Rapids. The first goal was unassisted, but Rodríguez picked up the second goal’s assist. Ever since the two have been on the pitch together, there has been a pick up to Seattle’s offense.

Once a timid offense that was afraid to shoot, Rodríguez doesn’t shy away from goalkeepers that are at least a half a foot taller than him. Putting him with Bruin, and having both players healthy, is a dream come true for Brian Schmetzer.

After Wednesday’s victory, Bruin said that Seattle is still “not where we want to be, but it’s something we can build off of.”

“It’s a quick turnaround to New England, so we have to be realistic with it,” Bruin said.

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

Jordan Morris and Handwalla Bwana have a long way to go before they can feature again for Seattle. Morris has been listed out for the whole season, but Bwana can still return before the end of 2018.

However, Schmetzer hasn’t given a recent update on Bwana’s progress from a right midfoot sprain.

Meanwhile, Kelvin Leerdam and Felix Chenkam are slowly recovering from their respective right hamstring strains. Both traveled with the team for the road matches for depth, but are still listed as questionable.

New England Revolution

Three players have been listed as “out” for New England.

Isaac Angking is recovering from illness while Femi Hollinger-Janzen is rehabbing a dislocated elbow. Meanwhile, Chris Tierney, defender, tore his ACL back on May 30. He is out for the rest of the season.

Last Meeting: Seattle 3, New England 3

Last season, the two teams met at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. The match took place on April 29.

The end result was a 3-3 tie. Bruin, Osvaldo Alonso, and Nicolás Lodeiro scored second-half goals for the Sounders. Meanwhile, Daigo Kobayashi — who featured for the Las Vegas Lights in the United Soccer League (USL) scored a first-half goal.

Juan Agudelo scored twice.

Prediction: Seattle 1, New England 1

The match will be tight.

Teal Bunbury is the leading goal scorer for New England right now, scoring 10 goals in 17 appearances. The matchup between Bunbury and the center back duo of Chad Marshall and Kim Kee-Hee will be a nail-biter.

However, Will Bruin isn’t having a hot-streak for no reason. New England will have to do their best covering Seattle’s best right now.

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