Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC
2017 MLS Match Preview
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Washington
Saturday, May 6 – 3 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN and ESPN Deportes in the US, TSN2 and CTV in Canada
On December 10, the Seattle Sounders won MLS Cup against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Six months later the two teams will meet again, this time at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. While a regular season game does not hold the weight of a championship match, it's clear Toronto will want some revenge after being denied their first MLS Cup.
The visitors come in on a high, with three straight wins at home against the Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo and Orlando City SC. Seattle are coming off of a a 3-3 draw against the New England Revolution after going down 3-0. Both teams tout US national team stars with Toronto's standard-bearers being Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley and Seattle sporting Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey.
The four share a bond after last year's MLS Cup and all were quick to point out the friendship in a profile on SoundersFC.com.
“It was such a class act after how frustrated they were losing a big game like that,” Morris recalled when discussing Altidore's decision to seek out the young forward outside the Sounders locker room. “It meant a ton and just shows the type of guy he is. He’s a great player on the field, but for me especially coming into camp, he’s been a mentor and a guy I look up to a lot. To have the class to come over to do that just speaks to his character.”
The four will meet again on Saturday in a match between two of the most high-profile franchises in MLS, but with a little less at stake than last December.
Stopping Sebastian Giovinco. That is the No. 1 task for any team facing Toronto FC and the Sounders have a good history against the 2015 Landon Donovan MLS MVP.
Giovinco did not score in either the regular season meeting last season or MLS Cup, registering only one shot on target. The Italian is coming off a brace against Orlando City SC on Wednesday night and will certainly be anxious to score his first goal against the Sounders.
Former Sounder Steve Zakuani says "brute effort" will be needed to shut down the superstar forward.
Sounders center back Roman Torres knows that Giovinco isn't the only forward to worry about, as Altidore comes into Saturday's match with two goals and an assist in his past two games.
"We need to know exactly where they are at all times," Torres said through a translator in an interview with SoundersFC.com.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT – D Oniel Fisher (left hamstring strain), D Chad Marshall (lower back pain), D Nouhou Tolo (left shoulder dislocation); QUESTIONABLE – M Aaron Kovar (groin surgery), D Brad Evans (calf muscle strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei – Gustav Svensson, Roman Torres, Tony Alfaro, Joevin Jones – Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan – Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris – Will Bruin
Notes: Will Bruin had 10 touches in the New England box last week, tied with Ignacio Piatti for the most of any player in the league over the course of the weekend...Seattle are unbeaten in their last 11 regular season home games (7W-4D). The Sounders have only conceded eight goals in those 11 games, three of which came in their last home game against New England (3-3 draw).
While Toronto will want revenge and to continue their winning streak, it wouldn't be surprising to see some new players in their starting XI on Saturday. In the grand scheme of things, a road loss to a non-conference opponent wouldn't set Greg Vanney's team too far back in the race to finish at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The projected lineup below reflects what TFC put out in their 2-1 win against Orlando on Wednesday, but one could easily see Vanney rest multiple players. MLS assist leader Victor Vazquez has gone 90 minutes just twice so far this season and could be seen as a piece off the bench against Seattle, with Jonathan Osorio getting a spot start. Raheem Edwards and Marky Delgado are two other starters who could be in line for a break.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT – D Chris Mavinga (quad injury), D Drew Moor (cardiac arrhythmia)
Projected Starting XI (3-5-2): Alex Bono – Eriq Zavaleta, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow – Steven Beitashour, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Raheem Edwards – Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Notes: Toronto have drawn three of their last five MLS road games (1W-1D). They have only kept two clean sheets in their last 14 MLS away games...Jozy Altidore scored two goals last weekend, his fifth multi-goal game in MLS play since joining Toronto prior to the 2015 season. Clint Dempsey is the only other American player with five multi-goal games in MLS action in that timeframe.
- Overall: Seattle 7 wins (18 goals), Toronto 2 wins (10 goals), 2 draws
- At Seattle: Seattle 4 wins (12 goals), Toronto 1 wins (6 goals), 1 draw
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow