SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (July 27, 2018) — Leave it to Seattle Sounders FC for giving the entire league a scare and then a shock.
The Sounders are no strangers to a slow start to the season. However, this year, the slow start lasted longer than any owner, fan or player could have imagined.
Seattle Sounders Unbeaten Streak Will Face Test Against NYCFC
With the emergence of solid defending, bringing key players back from injury and a certain Peruvian making a splash in the league, Seattle is back to the same championship-style play that took the club to back-to-back MLS Cup finals.
There’s a lot of praise going to the players, but Brian Schmetzer deserves some credit. After facing some discussion of whether his coaching seat was “hot,” Schmetzer ignored the noise and continued to lead his players.
Schmetzer and the front office bringing in Raúl Ruidíaz was the best spark imaginable. Seattle has emerged as serious playoff contenders now — even if the team sits in 10th place.
It’s a tight race in the Western Conference. However, Seattle is currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak, winning the last two matches. The road form for Seattle has been superb lately.
At home, Seattle is picking up points. However, matches have been too close for comfort. With a New York City FC team coming to town that is struggling on the road, Seattle has a chance to embarrass the second-place Eastern Conference club.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York City FC
2018 MLS Regular Season
July 29, 2018 – 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET
What to Watch for
Despite not being listed on any injury reports, Chad Marshall did not suit up against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.
However, Marshall was discovered to have a right calf contusion injury, according to Sounders Matchday on Twitter. He remained back in Seattle.
Lately, Marshall has been solid in the back with South Korean international Kim Kee-Hee. With Marshall out of the match, Kim featured alongside Román Torres. The two didn’t miss a beat, keeping San Jose’s leading scorer Danny Hoesen out of the match.
The two defenders were solid for goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
However, their hands will be full against New York City FC. The team boasts a solid attacking trio that includes David Villa, Thomas McNamara, and Maximiliano Moralez. Add Rodney Wallace into that mix and New York has no lack of attacking power.
Kim and Torres were up against the last-place team in the Western Conference. If the Sounders want to continue the unbeaten streak, the two internationals will have to be on-point against New York’s attacking force.
The same goes for defensive midfielder, Gustav Svensson.
Find yourself a friend like Ozzie Alonso 😂 pic.twitter.com/gLFjUwUMkj
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 26, 2018
The Injury Report
Right in the middle of one of his best seasons, Víctor Rodríguez picks up yet another injury.
This time, the Spanish midfielder is rehabbing a right hamstring. Just like the San Jose match, Rodríguez is listed as questionable.
Marshall is still technically not on the injury report. However, as mentioned, he is currently dealing with a right calf contusion.
Listed as out are Handwalla Bwana and Jordan Morris.
New York City FC
New York’s list is a bit longer.
Listed as out are defender Cedric Hountondji (hamstring) and midfielder Yangel Herrera (ankle). However, Herrera is out for the rest of the season, after his June injury.
David Villa is listed as questionable with a right knee injury. Joining him on the questionable list are fellow fowards Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring) and Jo Inge Berget (quad).
Berget is listed as out for 7-10 days. However, his injury was picked up on July 6, so he is being delayed on his return.
Ready to rock at @CenturyLink_Fld. 🤘 pic.twitter.com/fLJaAzWQbq
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 27, 2018
Last Meeting: June 17, 2017
A historic district in New York City, home of Yankee Stadium. Last year, the Seattle Sounders fell to New York City FC, 2-1, at the legendary stadium. However, Cristian Roldan did manage to scoop up a goal in the loss.
Meanwhile, NYCFC had two goals from David Villa.
In total, referee Robert Sibiga handed out seven yellow cards during the contest. Four went to Seattle — specifically, Roldan, Marshall, Svensson and Osvaldo Alonso — while three went to NYCFC.
Prediction: Seattle 1, NYCFC 0
This isn’t going to be easy, but Seattle will keep the win streak alive; not just the unbeaten streak.
Seattle is the healthiest the team has ever been this season. Kim and Torres didn’t miss a beat against San Jose, and while New York has some higher-quality players, don’t be shocked to see the centerbacks hold up.
Stefan Frei, though, will have a busy night.
Seattle’s key to the match will be keeping a close eye on Villa. However, not all eyes can be on Villa; New York City FC has other players of talented quality that can find the back of the net.
Then again, so does Seattle.
That touch. 💯
That finish. ⚽️
That celebration. 🇵🇪@RaulRuidiazM's first @MLS goal was a special one! pic.twitter.com/Ytj4WQqYzQ
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 27, 2018