LAFC vs Seattle Sounders FC
Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021
7:30 p.m. PT
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
RADIO: ESPN LA 1110 AM, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
As the 2021 MLS season barrels to a close with three matches remaining, the Black & Gold remain in a fight for the Playoffs with each game taking on must-win status.
A hard-fought 1-1 draw on Saturday in Minnesota kept LAFC’s post season hopes alive as Cristian Arango continued his scoring streak. The Colombian forward now has 12 goals in his first 14 MLS games, the second-best start to a career in MLS history.
The Sounders have always been a difficult rival for LAFC, and the two Clubs have always seemed to match-up in some big matches, including the first game in LAFC history, the first home match at Banc of California Stadium, the knock-out round of the MLS Is Back Tournament and the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
This match promises to be another exciting chapter in the rivalry – two teams with lots on the line as the Sounders are looking to cement their status as the number one seed in the Western Conference after another successful season.
This is a completely different LAFC team that played Seattle to a 1-1 draw on April 24 in L.A. and then dropped a 2-0 decision in Seattle on May 16. Eduard Atuesta and Francisco Ginella remain out injured, and Jose Cifuentes will also miss the match due to yellow card accumulation.
The Sounders have maintained the top spot in the Western Conference for much of 2021, and they have done it with style and resilience, overcoming numerous injuries and absences while maintaining good form. The Sounders have stumbled a bit recently, going winless in their last three and suffering a 2-1 loss to Kansas City over the weekend. Joao Paulo is out due to yellow card accumulation, and LAFC killer Raul Ruidiaz is potentially out as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Jordan Morris, Brad Smith and Nico Lodeiro are all questionable with injuries – but Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Monday that Lodeiro could see some action.
Seattle is a strong, veteran, team that is both good with possession on the counterattack and arguably stronger defensively. Even with the missing players, it won’t shake the club that still has performed at the highest level throughout 2021.
LAFC head coach Bob Bradley told the media on Monday that there is a good chance that 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela will be on the bench and available to play vs. Seattle. Vela is not likely to start, but Bradley will be looking for “some good spots where we can fit Carlos in to help us.”
Vela has not played since Aug. 21 when he suffered a quad injury in a match in Vancouver, missing 11 straight games. Overall, Vela has appeared in 17 matches in 2021, but played 90 minutes just nine times as originally injured the quad just 21 minutes into the season opener on April 17 vs. Austin and has been dealing with it ever since.
With the season on the line, Vela is starting to get back into shape and hoping to add to his five goals and four assists in 1,1175 minutes.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
LAFC will need to take the advantages they can usually create in the final third vs. Seattle into opportunities in the box. Carlos Vela is expected to be on the bench for the first time since Aug. 21 when he suffered a quad injury vs. Vancouver. Can he give LAFC a magical moment that the Club has been missing in 2021?
SEATTLE CAN WIN IF
If they can score an extra goal on a set piece. The Sounders have been incredibly dangerous on the attack this season, and if they can maximize their advantages by getting a goal on a set piece, it will be tough for LAFC to take this one.
Inspired by Dune (1984).