New York City FC vs. Seattle Sounders | 2017 MLS Match Preview
New York City FC vs. Seattle Sounders
2017 MLS Regular Season
Yankee Stadium – Bronx, New York
Saturday, June 17 – 1 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN, ESPN Deportes in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada
New York City FC and the Seattle Sounders took vastly different approaches to their midweek US Open Cup matches and ended up with vastly different results, perhaps setting the stage for the Sounders to take a surprise road point out of Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
Seattle will be able to roll out their full first-team without many issues on Saturday afternoon, as the Sounders didn’t use a single regular in their 2-1 Open Cup win against Portland in Washington on Tuesday night.
Things might look a bit different for NYCFC, who, despite using an entirely first-choice lineup and getting a 90-minute outing from David Villa, fell 1-0 at the New York Red Bulls in the Open Cup on Wednesday. They suffered more than just a defeat on Wednesday, as influential midfielder Maxi Moralez had to leave the match at halftime due to a calf injury. His status for Saturday is unknown.
New York City FC
They lost on Wednesday, but it’s only positive vibes for NYCFC in MLS at the moment, with the club getting a pair of late goals to down the Philadelphia Union 2-1 at Yankee Stadium in their last league runout on June 3.
That victory brought New York City within touching distance of the top of the Eastern Conference table, putting them four points behind the second-place Chicago Fire and five back of league-leading Toronto FC. That gap could very well close further this weekend. NYCFC have been just about untouchable at home this year, posting a 4-1-2 record and outscoring their opponents 15-8 through their first eight matches in the Bronx.
Their excellent home form has been largely due to Villa. The reigning MVP has recorded four of his eight goals and all six of his assists this year at Yankee Stadium, and, with Jack Harrison, Tommy McNamara and Rodney Wallace assisting him in the attack, should carve out plenty of opportunities against a Sounders defense that will be re-integrating starters Roman Torres and Joevin Jones following their stints with their national teams.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: F Khiry Shelton (hamstring injury), M Andrea Pirlo (knee injury); QUESTIONABLE: Maxime Chanot (hamstring injury), M Maxi Moralez (calf injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Sean Johnson – Ethan White, Frederic Brillant, Alexander Callens, Ronald Matarrita – Alex Ring, Mikey Lopez, Tommy McNamara – Rodney Wallace, David Villa, Jack Harrison
Notes: NYCFC have lost just one home game this season (4-1-2) and have only lost one regular season home game in their last 15 matches at Yankee Stadium dating back to 2016 ... Midfielder Alex Ring leads the league in both tackles (59) and tackles won (42), with no other player participating in more than 50 tackles this season.
Like NYCFC, the Sounders will be returning to MLS play following a two-week layoff on Saturday. Unlike their hosts, however, their first team will be mostly rested and ready at Yankee Stadium.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer chose to field a lineup of reserves and USL players during his club’s Open Cup win against Portland on Tuesday, with regulars Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, Ozzie Alonso, Chad Marshall, Stefan Frei and Clint Dempsey (who was suspended) all taking in the match in street clothes. The main lineup questions for Seattle will surround the status of Torres and Jones, both of whom started Hex matches for their countries on Tuesday night. Schmetzer could choose to rest one or both given their national team work and long trips back to the States following Tuesday’s CONCACAF action.
Going beyond lineup concerns, Seattle will be looking for a little bit more offensive cohesion on Saturday. Despite winning three of their last four in MLS and four of five across all competitions, the Sounders attack has yet to really click in 2017, recording a middle-of-the-road 18 goals in 15 regular season games. One would think that they have too much talent to be stuck in that sort of attacking quagmire all year – we’ll see if they can break out of their quasi-slumber on Saturday.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: None
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei – Brad Evans, Gustav Svensson, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones – Cristian Roldan, Osvaldo Alonso –Harry Shipp, Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey – Jordan Morris
Notes: Seattle are 1-5-2 on the road this season and have allowed 17 goals in their eight away games, third most in MLS ... Cristian Roldan has won 111 duels this season, most in the league.
The all-time series between the teams is tied 1-1, with the road team winning both of the first two matchups.
- Overall: New York City 1 win (3 goals), Seattle 1 win (3 goals), 0 draws
- At New York City: New York City 0 wins (1 goal), Seattle 1 win (3 goals), 0 draws
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Jose Da Silva
Fourth Official: Jorge Gonzalez