210424_LAFCvSEA_Preview

LAFC vs Seattle Sounders FC

MLS 2021 Season - Match Two

Saturday, April 24, 2021

3:00 p.m. PT

TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes

RADIO: ESPN LA 1110 AM, ESPN App, KFWB 980 AM

Another opening match for the Black & Gold, another win in the books, with LAFC dropping newcomer Austin FC 2-0 on April 17 to keep their perfect season-opener win streak alive. Up next is an early season challenge from Western Conference rival Seattle Sounders FC, a club that LAFC faced an eye-opening five times last year across all competitions. The last matchup between the two clubs adds a little more fire – with Seattle bouncing LAFC from the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second straight year.

“We want to get the better of them. We feel like maybe they got the better of us a little of last year,” said LAFC forward Danny Musovski. “They are coming here to our field, so we are going to put up a fight. We are going to try our hardest and we are going to try to walk out of that game with a win.”

LAFC owns 4-2-1 regular season record against Seattle with a perfect home record of 3-0-0, but don’t think that means a win will come easy. Seattle exploded for four goals in their season-opener against Minnesota United last weekend and showed although they were without one of their leaders in Nicolas Lodeiro, they are still a massive force to be reckoned with.

This early challenge for LAFC is sure to be a fun one.

SEATTLE IN-DEPTH

Unlike last week’s first-ever matchup against Austin FC, it is safe to say we know what we are going to get going up against the Sounders. They are a veteran, well-organized team that likes to build out of the back. They are strong on the ball, good with possession, and have a strong defensive identity. It is important to note that Nicolas Lodeiro, a constant thorn in LAFC’s side, is sidelined with an injury, but Seattle saw a standout performance by young midfielder Josh Atencio last week in his place.

WHO WILL STEP UP?

Although it’s early on in the 2021 MLS Season, LAFC has already had its fair share of injuries to some of its brightest stars. Diego Rossi picked up a hamstring strain in practice prior to the game vs. Austin and is still questionable for the matchup with Seattle, and Carlos Vela suffered a quad injury that sidelined him just 22 minutes into the season opener, and has kept him out of full training throughout the week. But, having two stars at less than 100 percent also spells more opportunity for others.

“We’re a little bit frustrated. It’s not ideal,” said LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley. “But we’ve got to have others ready when the moments come.”

This match will seemingly give further early opportunities to some players such as Mahala Opuku, who already made his mark on the season with an assist vs. Austin as he subbed on for Vela. Will we see newcomer Cal Jennings this match? Or maybe Raheem Edwards? Danny Musovski was able to step up in a similar situation last year but is dealing with his own hip injury suffered in training.

LAFC WILL WIN IF

They can control the midfield and put balls in the back of the net. Of course, to win you have to score, but the history of this matchup shows that the run of play doesn’t necessarily dictate the outcome. LAFC must see some magic up front to take this one, but also see some magic from goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega because it is a tough task to win once you fall behind against Seattle.

SEATTLE CAN WIN IF

If they can skillfully build out of the back and get a moment of individual quality from one of their playmakers – Raul Ruidiaz, Christian Roldan and Joao Paulo.

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