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After meeting earlier in the season during a 1-1 draw in April, both the Seattle Sounders and LAFC will once again take the field against one another this Sunday in Washington’s Lumen Field.
Seattle has looked like the team to beat so far this season, and with four wins and a draw to kick off 2021, there have been little to no complaints about the side that were initially expected to have a few more problems.
As for LAFC, they’ve dealt with a few inconsistencies in what has been a rough patch of games without star winger Carlos Vela.
Nonetheless, Seattle could be missing a key figure (among others) this weekend that could give LAFC a chance to fight for points. Coupled with the fact that the Sounders also had a mid-week game, a tie may not be out of the question.
|LAFC have more to prove, and depending on the health of Vela, he could possibly get some minutes this weekend.|
|Seattle Sounders vs LAFC Information|
|Teams||Seattle Sounders vs LAFC|
|Location||Lumen Field (Seattle, Washington)|
|Time||Sunday, May 16th at 9:30 pm ET|
|How to Watch||FS1, Fox Deportes|
What should we make of LAFC?
With one win, one loss, and two draws, it’s easy to feel slightly misled about the 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners that were supposed to make a comeback this year.
Following an injury to Vela in their season-opener, things haven’t exactly panned out for the California club that hasn’t been terrible but also haven’t been hitting the high expectations that were put on them.
Without a win since mid-April, it would seem to make sense that LAFC would once again have issues when they face an in-form Seattle this weekend.
And yet, one can also make the argument that LAFC will be able to at least go toe-to-toe and fight for an away point against what could be a weary Seattle roster that likely won’t have their starting goalkeeper.
Injuries have been nothing new for Seattle in 2021. Already impacted by setbacks that have changed their lineups, the Sounders have already been able to compensate for these alterations and battle for well-deserved wins.
That said, missing someone like Stefan Frei might be the final straw that ultimately breaks the camel’s back.
Following an injury in the recent 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle’s starting goalkeeper is now doubtful (at time of writing) for a return at any point in the near future.
A backup will need to step in, and whether it be Spencer Richey or Stefan Cleveland, neither has the same amount of pedigree or presence as someone like Frei.
On the other end of the pitch, there is the possibility that Vela could return to the field.
Although it remains to be seen if he’ll be included in the lineup, the highest-paid player in MLS could be well-rested and fully recovered after being left out of the previous three LAFC matches.
Even if he’s on as a late impact substitute, Vela has the capabilities to turn any game on its head, and up against a backup goalkeeper, LAFC should have plenty of chances to make this encounter competitive.
Keep an eye on not only Vela, but also other names like Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing who will give Seattle’s defense some trouble.
However, no matter what LAFC throws at them, Seattle still have the upper hand.
The Sounders have momentum, a lethal goalscorer like Raul Ruidiaz, an incredibly motivated Cristian Roldan, and a number of fringe options who have all bought into the methods of manager Brian Schmetzer.
As mentioned earlier, Seattle are the team to beat in MLS.
And even if Vela is fully fit and launching golazos from distance, the Sounders have proven in recent weeks that they can keep up with anyone and everyone that have challenged them.
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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