Welcome to your open thread for tonight's match-up between Orlando City and Seattle Sounders FC. It's the lone meeting of the Lions' inaugural season and the teams cannot meet again unless they face each other in the MLS Cup final. So, that would be nice, but let's not bet all our rainy day money on that.
Orlando City (7-10-7, 28 points) has been on a particularly bad run of form since the start of July, winning just once in that span in all competitive matches and twice if you count the friendly against West Brom (note: I do not). That lone win was an impressive 5-2 drubbing of Columbus Crew SC, but aside from that, results have been sparse. But you glass-half-fullers out there can look at it this way: the Lions are 1-1-1 in their last three!
Seattle (10-12-2, 32 points) has lost five consecutive matches. The Sounders have had the worst run of form...well, maybe ever, scoring once in the last five matches and three goals in the last nine games. But, they have received several reinforcements this week and could see not only the return of Obafemi Martins but potentially even Clint Dempsey. This should be a very different looking Seattle squad than the one that has lost five in a row.
The return of Martins and addition of Nelson Valdez can completely turn around Seattle's toothless attack. Both are dangerous players in the final third and will test an Orlando defense that has been rather generous since Independence Day, conceding 16 times in seven league matches over that span, and three more in a U.S. Open Cup loss at Chicago. That defense will either feature 18-year-old Tommy Redding at center back or David Mateos, who arrived in the U.S. last Saturday and still probably doesn't know everyone's name.
Orlando City can climb back into the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, at least temporarily, with a result today. Seattle will try to take all three points to stay clear of Houston for sixth in the Western Conference and potentially pull within a point of rival Portland Timbers in fifth.
The questions tonight revolve around who starts on the outside in the attacking midfield. Lewis Neal, Eric Avila and Darwin Ceren have not produced in those spots. Luke Boden has fared a bit better, but will likely be at left back with Corey Ashe on the right to spell the still-injured Rafael Ramos. Carlos Rivas and Adrian Winter could either start or be held out to come off the bench in the second half. It would be asking a lot of either to go 90 minutes but they are the club's best offensive options right now.
Here's your mandatory content to prep for tonight:
- Austin Siegel's match preview and final score prediction
- This week's PawedCast reviews tonight's match with special guest Dave Clark from the Seattle blog Sounder at Heart.
- The Intelligence Report provides additional insight and info on tonight's foe from Dave.
- Scott Crumbly says tonight's Sounders lineup could be bolstered by several additions/returns.
Orlando City (4-3-2-1)
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall
Defenders: Luke Boden, David Mateos, Aurélien Collin, Tyler Turner
Defensive Midfielders: Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Servando Carrasco
Attacking Midfielders: Kaká, Adrian Winter
Forward: Cyle Larin
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Corey Ashe, Tommy Redding, Bryan Rochez, Carlos Rivas, Pedro Ribeiro, Lewis Neal
Seattle Sounders (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei
Defenders: Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Oniel Fisher
Midfielders: Andy Rose, Brad Evans, Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle
Forwards: Obafemi Martins, Valdez
Bench: Troy Perkins, Darwin Jones, Remick, Scott, Pineda,Thomas, Cristian Roldan
REF: Kevin Stott
AR1: Frank Anderson
AR2: Brian Poeschel
4TH: Baboucarr Jallow
How to Watch:
Match time: 5 p.m. (ET)
Venue: CenturyLink Field — Seattle, WA
TV: ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (nationally)
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish), SiriusXM 85
Streaming: Watch ESPN, MLS Live
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City's official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
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