Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. New York City FC
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, June 25 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)
Match Odds: Seattle 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – NYCFC 16/5
Seattle Sounders welcome New York City FC to CenturyLink Field for the first time ever on Saturday evening, with both sides looking for three valuable points as we approach the midpoint of the season.
Seattle have had a torrid time so far. They come into this game off the back of last week’s 2-0 loss at the Red Bulls and have now lost four of their last five.
Goalscoring has been a major problem for Sigi Schmid’s men, who are the league’s lowest scoring side with just 13 so far. Clint Dempsey will not be back with the squad for this match, further damaging their chances of turning the corner.
The home crowd have come to expect so much from the Sounders after their successes in recent years. But they have yet to get going this term. It’s not too late, although another defeat on Saturday would leave them in ninth place in the West – a position few predicted the club would be in at this stage.
New York City will hope last weekend’s 3-2 win over Philadelphia can help them pick back up. City had not won in four before that game, but goals from all three Designated Players helped them to just a second home win of the year.
Patrick Vieira’s men have not kept a clean sheet in six, which is a worry. Although they seem to score goals for fun and their ‘we’ll score more than you’ approach certainly leads to entertaining games.
They sit third in the East heading into the weekend, just five points off Philadelphia at the top and know three points here would keep them in a very strong position at the halfway stage of the season.
This will be just the second meeting between the two clubs. Last year’s sole clash ended 3-1 to Seattle in New York, with goals from Obafemi Martins and Dempsey enough to outgun City.
Seattle will be without their talismanic attacker, Clint Dempsey, who remains away with the USMNT for one more match in the Copa America. Roman Torres is still out injured. Osvaldo Alonso is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step.
Connor Brandt and Federico Bravo remain sidelined through injury for Patrick Vieira’s men, though they are the only injury concerns as we approach the midpoint of the campaign. NYCFC will, however, be without Jason Hernandez after the centre-back was sent off in last weekend’s win over Philadelphia.
Seattle Sounders’ last five: L/L/L/W/L
New York City FC’s last five: D/L/D/L/W
Key Stat: Drought – Seattle are the lowest scorers in MLS to this point, having netted just 13 times in 14 matches so far.
Key Player: David Villa – The Spanish striker scored for the third consecutive game last weekend and is the league’s highest goalscorer with 11 for the season. He will look to hurt the Sounders backline on Saturday and add to his already impressive tally.
Seattle Sounders 1-2 New York City FC – Seattle struggle to score goals but NYCFC are so leaky at the back that the hosts will surely find the net on Saturday. That said, they don’t look primed to go and win the game and the visitors will arrive with confidence after last weekend’s victory. Another win for NYCFC looks more likely as Seattle’s troubles look set to worsen.