Preview: Seattle Sounders take on Eastern Conference club Orlando

Seattle Sounders preview

Seattle, Washington (May 15, 2019) — The Seattle Sounders FC are in the middle of a long week. Three matches in eight days consume the Sounders, with the second of three being held at CenturyLink Field tonight.

The Sounders kicked off their stretch with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. That victory saw the Sounders take a leap over Houston for third place. Now, two Eastern Conference matches, with Seattle taking on Orlando tonight and the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

Orlando hasn’t been sitting pretty in the standings. Despite bringing in a veteran like Nani, Orlando has struggled this season. Right now, the Lions sit in 10th place, just slightly above FC Cincinnati and the New England Revolution. For a high-struggling team, going into the “Lion’s den” of CenturyLink Field isn’t going to be easy.

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Orlando City SC
2019 MLS Regular Season
CenturyLink Field
May 15, 2019 — 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+

What to Watch For

Román Torres

Román Torres looked rough in his first start of the season against Los Angeles FC back in April. Torres didn’t look comfortable in his partnership with fellow centerback Kim Kee-hee. Instead, Torres looked dazed and even slid for a tackle, giving up a goal in the process.

However, last weekend against Houston, Torres looked much better. He and Kim looked to be on the same page. That will have to happen again tonight for there to be success against Orlando. Likely, Chad Marshall will be out — more on that in a bit — and Torres will likely earn the start.

Even though Orlando is low in the standings, their attack shouldn’t be dismissed. Dom Dwyer always has the capabilities to open up a game with his scoring. Nani has been a rock in the midfield for Orlando. Tesho Akindele is a young playmaker with big-time abilities to find the net.

Torres will have to strengthen his backline relationship with Kim. Maybe he can pick some basic Korean up from Chad Marshall to help with communication.

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

As mentioned, Marshall could potentially miss another match. He’s not getting any younger, there’s no doubt about that. Marshall, who is 34-years-old, is currently dealing with right knee inflammation. He’s listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, two Sounders are listed as out. Midfielder Gustav Svensson is still out with a left hamstring strain. Dealing with the same injury is his fellow midfielder Victor Rodriguez.

“We’re going to try to continue our little winning streak,” Brian Schmetzer, Sounders head coach, said. “It’s a four-day turnaround so it’s not the worst in the world. The guys are in good spirits… For us, it’s business as usual.”

Orlando City SC

Nani was listed on the injury report with a calf injury, but there is no status for him. Defender Carlos Ascues is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury.

“They had a short turnaround as well,” Schmetzer said of Orlando. “That’s what makes them a dangerous team. They can play free. Everyone expects them to lose, so they have the underdog tag written all over them. That makes them a dangerous, dangerous team. They rested a couple of their players, so we’ll see who they roll out on Wednesday. We’ll have to be prepared.”

“There is no easy game in MLS.”

Last Meeting: October 17, 2019

In 2018, the two teams met up at Orlando City Stadium. The Sounders grabbed a victory on the road, ending their regular-season on a high note. Seattle picked up a 2-1 victory, with Rodriguez and Handwalla Bwana scoring the game-winning goals. However, Orlando wasn’t entirely scoreless. Dwyer scored a consolation goal in the 57th minute.

Prediction: Seattle 3, Orlando 1

Orlando will have some of their big-name players back from rest. Seattle has added to their depth on defense in case there are tired and heavy legs. Raúl Ruidíaz is looking for his first goal since coming back from injury, so he’ll be attacking net.

Plus, Seattle at home is always dangerous. Three points would help the Sounders climb back up to second place over the LA Galaxy.


PHOTO: The Seattle Sounders FC players celebrate Cristian Roldan’s goal over the Houston Dynamo last Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.