Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs New England Revolution
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, March 8 – 21:30 ET (01:30 GMT – Monday, 9)
Match Odds: Seattle 10/11 – Draw 13/5 – New England 14/5
The Sounders lifted the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2014 and won more games than anyone else in MLS last year but a new season means it’s time to start fresh and Seattle will want nothing more than victory to start to the new campaign.
The Revs went all the way to MLS Cup last year but suffered a painful extra-time loss to eventual champions, LA Galaxy. It’s important for New England to come back fighting again in 2015 but they couldn’t have picked a trickier place to play their first game of the new season.
Seattle also lost to the LA Galaxy to end their 2014 season but their regular season form was good in the run-in as they won three of their last five. The Sounders will be out to seek revenge for last season’s thumping 5-0 defeat in New England in what was the heaviest loss of their entire campaign.
That result could give New England confidence and they are now unbeaten in three against the Sounders. Both sides love to play attacking football and that could lead to an open, entertaining game on Sunday.
Lee Nguyen was the star for the Revs in 2014 and he will look to pick up where he left off, while the return of Juan Agudelo in attack only bolsters New England.
Seattle will rely on the deadly duo of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey once again, though Lamar Neagle could be set to partner Martins in attack, with Dempsey slotting in an advanced midfield role.
The Revs beat the Sounders in both sides’ penultimate preseason game as New England won 2-1 in the Desert Diamond Cup match in Tucson, Arizona but the start of the new season will be an entirely different game.
Seattle Sounders will be without midfield enforcer and Designated Player, Osvaldo Alonso (groin) for the start of the new season and Gonzalo Pineda is likely to step in a fill the void. Tyrone Mears should make his debut at right-back as life after DeAndre Yedlin begins for the Sounders.
New England Revolution go into the game without a star midfielder of their own as Jermaine Jones will miss the first few weeks of the new season after undergoing surgery on a hernia last month. Daigo Kobayashi is expected to step in to replace Jones in midfield while Juan Agudelo could start in attack with Charlie Davies on the bench.
Seattle Sounders’ form: N/A
New England Revolution’s form: N/A
Key Stat: New England Revolution have scored in all of their last ten Major League Soccer games, including the playoffs. The Revs netted 22 goals in their last ten games of 2014.
Key Player: Clint Dempsey – With no Jermaine Jones in midfield for the Revs, Clint Dempsey could find himself more space than usual and if he is not picked up by New England he will cause all kinds of problems.
Seattle Sounders 2-1 New England Revolution – Seattle won more times than anyone else last year and the absence of Jones for the Revs should see the Sounders start 2015 with victory in an entertaining game.