Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night match-up between Orlando City (11-10-6, 39 points) and the Seattle Sounders (10-14-3, 33 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). It’s the only scheduled meeting between these cross-conference opponents.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the game.
The Lions haven’t faced the Sounders since before the pandemic, which is good, because they are 0-4-1 against Seattle in the all-time series since the club joined MLS, and 0-2-0 at home. The last meeting between the sides was a 2-1 Sounders victory over a heavily rotated Orlando squad in Seattle on May 15, 2019.
This is what that starting XI looked like, so you can get a sense of how long ago that happened.
Raul Ruidiaz and Handwalla Bwana gave the Sounders a 2-0 lead before Chris Mueller pulled one back with 15 minutes to play. However, the Lions couldn’t find an equalizer.
The last meeting in Orlando saw the Sounders jump out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Victor Rodriguez and Bwana in the game’s first 13 minutes. Dom Dwyer scored his 13th goal of the year to put the Lions on the board in the 57th minute but the Lions couldn’t complete the comeback in a 2-1 loss on Oct. 17, 2018.
Orlando City got its first ever point in the series at CenturyLink Field on June 21, 2017, when Scott Sutter’s stoppage-time header equalized in a 1-1 road draw. Will Bruin scored for Seattle in the first half.
In 2016, the Sounders came into Camping World Stadium in August and won, 3-1. The Lions struck first through a Seb Hines goal, but Clint Dempsey’s hat trick more than brought the Sounders back.
The Sounders blew Orlando off the pitch in 2015 in the Lions’ first trip to Seattle, cruising to a 4-0 victory. Right back Tyler Turner picked up a pair of first-half yellow cards in that match and the Lions were forced to play 50+ minutes a man short. Obafemi Martins scored a brace and Seattle added goals by Nelson Valdez and Thomás. The final score would have been worse if not for goalkeeper Tally Hall stopping a Martins penalty.
The Lions enter on a three-game winning streak, but those haven’t come easy. All three were slim, one-goal margins and Orlando City needed an 89th-minute strike by Tesho Akindele to win at Charlotte last week and a 96th-minute Akindele header to dispatch New York City FC on Sunday. To keep the streak alive, Orlando will need to beat a team it has never beaten and do it at home — a place where the Lions are just 6-7-0 in 2022.
Meanwhile, Seattle is in the rare position of trying to fight its way into the postseason, which means the Sounders will be a desperate team tonight. The Sounders are 0-3-1 in their last four matches and, after recent matches against D.C. United and the New England Revolution, I don’t have to remind you what happens when teams on poor runs of form play against Orlando City. Seattle is just 3-9-2 away from home this season and 0-5-1 in its last six road games.
Regardless of their struggles this season, the Sounders are never an easy team to beat. Seattle has scored the same number of goals it has conceded (36) on the season. Jordan Morris leads his team with seven goals, while chipping in three assists. Raul Ruidiaz has missed a good chunk of the season due to injury — one of the key reasons Seattle is trying to battle its way above the playoff line — but has six goals and two assists in 14 appearances. Nicolas Lodeiro has five goals and a team-high nine assists.
Seattle’s danger largely comes from the versatility of the team’s attacking players to either score goals when given even the smallest of spaces, or to set up someone else for the goal. This will be a huge test for the Orlando City back line and central midfield. The Sounders are equally adept at scoring from buildup play or a quick counter. Don’t let their record fool you — these are still the Sounders.
Orlando City will be without Alexandre Pato (knee), Joey DeZart (knee), and Jack Lynn (thigh), while defender Robin Jansson (lower leg) remains questionable. Seattle will be without Cristian Roldan (groin surgery), Joao Paolo (knee), Andrew Thomas (back), and Obed Vargas (back).
Mandatory Match Content
- This week’s PawedCast features our key match-ups and score predictions for tonight’s match.
- Our Josh Munsey took a deep dive into the Sounders’ numbers in his latest scouting report.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Mauricio Pereyra.
Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Junior Urso, Niko Gioacchini.
Forward: Tesho Akindele.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Thomas Williams, Wilder Cartagena, Andres Perea, Jake Mulraney, Facundo Torres, Benji Michel, Ercan Kara.
Seattle Sounders (3-4-1-2)
Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei.
Defenders: Nouhou, Jackson Ragen, Yeimar.
Midfielders/Wingbacks: Jimmy Medranda, Albert Rusnak, Danny Leyva, Alex Roldan
Attacking Midfielders: Nicolas Lodeiro.
Forwards: Raul Ruidiaz, Jordan Morris.
Bench: Stefan Cleveland, Xavier Arreaga, Kelyn Rowe, Leo Chu, Josh Atencio, Ethan Dobbelaere, Dylan Teves, Fredy Montero, Will Bruin.
Ref: Alex Chilowicz.
AR1: Ryan Graves.
AR2: Tyler Wyrostek.
4th: Fotis Bazakos.
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Fabio Tovar.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and the LionNation app (in market only).
Enjoy the match. Go City!