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Who can stop Seattle?
With an undefeated start to the 2021 MLS season that includes five wins in six games, the Sounders have been incredible in recent weeks.
Atlanta, on the other hand, were probably a bit lucky to just clinch their second victory of the tournament after sneaking past CF Montreal last week with a narrow 1-0 result.
|It’s tough to root against Seattle these days, and barring some sort of incredible and unexpected turnaround from Atlanta in a short span of time, it’ll be the Sounders who will walk away with three points.|
|Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United Information|
|Teams||Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United|
|Location||Lumen Field (Seattle, Washington)|
|Time||Sunday, May 23rd at 4:30 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Fox, Fox Deportes|
With plenty of roster turnover from last season, expectations for Seattle were optimistic but also cautious earlier this year.
Although a place in the playoffs were anticipated, the general consensus from media and fans was that the Sounders would be a couple of steps behind a handful of high-performing MLS teams.
Seattle have already smashed those early expectations.
Regardless of players leaving in the offseason — and some injury complications to key names like Nicolas Lodeiro and Stefan Frei — the Sounders have been impeccable in 2021 so far.
To quote Seattle themselves from an online post earlier this week, they’ve now “matched a club record for the best start to a season” this year.
Onwards to what should be another win for the Sounders.
Outside of their 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire in April, Atlanta hasn’t scored more than one goal in a match in any of their other 2021 MLS results.
Most notably, in all competitions, they’ve only scored three times in their five games when you include the Concacaf Champions League.
It’s predictable soccer, and when you watch Atlanta, they seem to focus on long passes that aren’t that challenging to defend against.
Perhaps new manager Gabriel Heinze hasn’t figured out his strategy yet, perhaps star striker Josef Martinez needs more time after recovering from a lengthy injury, whatever it might be, it isn’t working for Atlanta.
Where to begin when discussing the long list of players who have already stepped up for the Sounders this season?
Alex Roldan has been superb as a right-back/right wing-back, backup goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland has had no issues with replacing Frei in net, Yeimar Gomez Andrade has been efficient in the backline, Cristian Roldan has looked incisive — the list goes on.
What’s so fascinating about Seattle is that it’s not just the big names and marquee headliners who have stepped up.
In support, numerous fringe and alternates have brought their level up and made the Sounders a deeper team in a number of key positions.
Which is fantastic news for manager Brian Schmetzer, who now has plenty of options to work within the beginning of a new season.
There’s a reason why raucous soccer supporters are often recognized as the “12th man.”
Last week, with 40,000+ in the stands, Atlanta’s supporters seemed to will and motivate their team to find a late game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Montreal that could have easily been a dull 0-0 draw.
We put on a show ?
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 16, 2021
Credit to Atlanta’s faithful for helping push their club, but this weekend, that unified voice of tens of thousands will be missing for the team’s upcoming away encounter.
And when looking at previous results, it’s important to note that Atlanta have only claimed one win in their last 12 MLS away trips.
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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