Preview: Seattle Sounders on the road in Canada to face Montreal Impact

Sounders
Kelvin Leerdam will be one of the more experienced players on the pitch tonight as the Seattle Sounders take on the Montreal Impact. Photo courtesy of Michael Lark/Seattle Sounders FC.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada (June 5, 2019) — For just the second time this season, the Seattle Sounders are crossing over the border. After a trip to Vancouver in March to face the Whitecaps, the Sounders are making a long trek across the continent to visit the Montreal Impact.

Preview: Seattle Sounders on the road in Canada to face Montreal Impact

Seattle is coming off a recent loss to FC Dallas. The loss was brutal for the Sounders and the defense was in chaos. Brad Smith and newly signed centerback Xavier Arreaga scored own goals to give FC Dallas three points. Now, the Sounders are looking to bounce back against an Eastern Conference side that fell to Orlando City SC last weekend.

The Sounders are missing a chunk of players due to international duty.

There are 10 players in specific joining their national teams for various tournament preparations. Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are in camp with the United States. Meanwhile, here are the other players gone with their respective national teams.

  • Gustav Svensson (Sweden)
  • Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay)
  • Raúl Ruidíaz (Peru)
  • Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador)
  • Brad Smith (Australia)

Joevin Jones, who featured for the Sounders from 2016-17 and was recently brought back, has been called up for Trinidad and Tobago. Meanwhile, Jordy Delem will join Martinique. However, according to social media posts, both players are in Montreal and look to be available tonight.

Without further ado, it’s time to preview tonight’s match against Montreal.

Montreal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders FC
2019 MLS Regular Season
Saputo Stadium
June 5, 2019 — 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET

Stream: ESPN+

What to Watch For

It’s time for the Youngsters

There’s a lot of holes for the Sounders with eight players off on international duty. However, that’s why the Seattle Sounders signed a ton of young talent. On the backline, Jonathan Campbell could line up with Kim Kee-hee at centerback, depending on if the South Korean is fit.

Meanwhile, in the midfield and up top, Harry Shipp can provide veteran leadership. However, it’ll be the younger players that deserve a look. Handwalla Bwana has scored a couple goals this MLS season and Nouhou has cycled in as a substitute for Brad Smith on defense.

They get even younger than the 21-year-old Bwana.

Danny Leyva rocked the league when he signed as a Homegrown player this season. He’s only 16-years-old, but has featured for Tacoma Defiance, the Sounders’ USL Championship affiliate team. Those appearances have helped, too, as he shared the same playing space with Campbell, Nouhou and Will Bruin.

There’s another youngster that could suit up. Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez has suited up for the Seattle Sounders 2 — Tacoma Defiance’s former team name — since 2017. Both young players recently competed in U-17 FIFA World Cup Qualifying this past May.

Talking to reporters in Montreal before the match, Brian Schmetzer said this is a time for younger players to step up and prove themselves.

“Some guys are really excited to play, because they know they’re going to get a chance,” Schmetzer said. “We worked on our defending tactics, because it will be a different look on our backline… We’ll get them ready. If we can keep the scoreline down to zero, which we’re capable of, then we’ll have some quality and we’ll get some chances.”

If we give up soft goals early… it’ll be a challenge.”

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

Here’s where things get tricky.

The Sounders have a lot of players that are going to be gone. For some reason, the South Korean Men’s National Team has ignored the stellar play of Kim Kee-hee for the last year-and-a-half. Against Sporting Kansas City, Kim came out of the match after hurting his knee. However, it proved to be not serious but just knee pain and a sprain.

Kim being healthy and ready to go on Wednesday would be a huge advantage for the Sounders. It’ll be interesting to see how he competes alongside Campbell. The two haven’t featured alongside each other too much this year. Of course, there’s always the language barrier. Kim is still learning English, a tough language to learn if you didn’t grow up speaking it. While he’s progressed, he has to form new chemistry with Campbell.

Also on the injury list is Victor Rodriguez. Both players are questionable, while Rodriguez is currently dealing with a left hamstring strain. Should he be fit and ready to go on Wednesday, that could extremely boost the midfield.

Montreal Impact

Montreal has a bigger injury list.

Forwards Orji Okwonkwo and Ignacio Piatti are out. Piatti’s injury is a right knee injury, which he sustained on May 24. He’ll likely be out for next 8-12 weeks, according to the Montreal Impact.

Meanwhile, a pair of midfielders are also out. Mathiew Choiniere is recovering from a concussion while Clement Bayiha is dealing with a quad injury. Defender Bacary Sagna is recovering from an ankle injury.

Montreal has a couple players out on international duty. Jukka Raitala has been called up by Finland for two EURO Qualifiers. Meanwhile, featuring in the Gold Cup will be a pair of Canadians and one Panamanian. For Canada, Montreal players Zachary Brault-Guillard and Samuel Piette were called into John Herdman’s squad. Meanwhile, Omar Browne will join Panama.

Last Meeting: March 31, 2018

Last year, the Sounders hosted Montreal at home. However, normally a great team at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders were in the midst of their slow start to the season. Kelvin Leerdam received a straight red card in the 40th minute. Then, a goal from Jeisson Vargas in the 60th minute put the final nail in Seattle’s coffin.

Speaking to reporters after training on Tuesday, Kelvin Leerdam said that the team is going to enjoy the longer break for the Gold Cup.

“I think we had a good training, despite how many people are missing,” Leerdam said. “Everybody is still having fun. Everyone is here to win the game… We have to play with confidence, which is the most important thing, and have fun. They have the support of their fans at home. We still have a lot of confidence.”

Last Word: Seattle 1, Montreal 1

This won’t be a loss for Seattle, but it could be a draw.

Seattle is desperate for a good showing after Saturday’s fiasco in Texas. Despite the team being shuffled around, Schmetzer is really good at plugging pieces into the puzzle. He has a lot of confidence in the younger guys he signed. He has confidence in players that are getting minutes with Tacoma.

Tonight’s match will be a test, but Seattle does certainly have a chance to come out on top.

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