New England Soccer Today

The Warm Up: #SEAvNE

Photo credit: Brandon Bleek/

Who: Revolution (2-3-3, 9 points) vs. Seattle Sounders (2-2-3, 9 points)
What: Week 9 of the MLS regular season
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
When: Saturday, April 29 at 10:00pm ET
Watch: CSN New England, MLS Live, Direct Kick
Whistle: Referee – Allen Chapman; Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal/Andrew Bigelow; 4th Official – Dave Gantar

Scouting the Opposition:

–The defending MLS Cup Champions have started their 2017 season with a slow 2-2-3 record. That record is good enough for 9 points and 5th position in a deep Western Conference, but 7 points behind the rival Portland Timbers, who sit in first place.

-The Sounders’ record is partially explained by the lack of home matches so far in the year. Seattle is 1-0-1 at home with a 3-1 win over the Red Bulls and a 0-0 draw against Atlanta United. This will be the first match home after a three-game road trip.

-Seattle have started every game in the 2017 season with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Their typical lineup includes a strong attack of Harry Shipp and Nicolas Lodeiro on the wings, Clint Dempsey in the attacking midfield role, and Jordan Morris as the lone striker.

-Lodeiro is the primary playmaker, leading the team with three goals. Dempsey leads the team with three goals, while Morris, Lodeiro, and Harry Shipp, who typically comes on for Morris, all have a pair of goals this season.

-The midfield is rounded out by Ozzie Alonso and Cristian Roldan. Alonso has been one of the key figures in Seattle since 2013, starting 133 games over that time span netting 5 goals, 4 assists and a 90.4 pass completion percentage. Roldan is less experienced at 21 years old, but has played his way into a regular starting spot with the Sounders starting 41 matches since the beginning of the 2016 season. Roldan hasn’t made his way onto the scoresheet in the 2017 season, but he scored 4 goals and assisted twice last season.

-The defense of the Sounders is filled out by Joevin Jones at left back, Chad Marshall and Gustav Svensson at center back, and Oniel Fisher at right back. The back line has some flexibility, however, with Jordy Delem, Roman Torres, and Tony Alfaro all getting spot starts this season, including last match when Delem and Alfaro started for Fisher and Marshall, respectively.

-Safe to assume Stephan Frei will get the start in goal. Frei has started 118 games for the Sounders since arriving in Seattle in 2014, including all seven games this year.

Recent History:

-The Revolution hold an all-time series lead over Seattle, posting a 5-4-2 record against the Sounders.

-CenturyLink Field has not been kind to the Revs, as they’ve only won once in five matches in Seattle. Overall, New England has a 1-3-1 record in Seattle, with their only victory being a 1-0 win in their first trip to Starbucks Land on August 20, 2009.

-New England defeated Seattle in their sole matchup of 2016 by a score of 2-1 on May 28. Lee Nguyen scored on a penalty in the 24th minute to cancel out an early Seattle lead and Femi Hollinger-Janzen put home the winning goal in the 80th minute, three minutes after he entered the game.

3 Things to Know:

1) Chris Tierney is listed as questionable this weekend with a hip injury. Tierney has been losing playing time lately to midfielder-turned-full back Kelyn Rowe, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume Rowe will get the start at left back.

2) According to reports, Kei Kamara will not be available for Saturday’s match as his wife is expected to give birth over the weekend.

3) Lee Nguyen is one assist from tying Chris Tierney (36) for second-most assists in Revolution history, while passing Joe-Max Moore (35) in the process. Tierney and Nguyen have a long way to go, however, before coming close to Steve Ralston’s team record of 73 assists.

Score prediction:

The Revolution are facing a difficult task going on the road and facing the defending MLS Cup champions. Seattle is a very strong team that can put multiple goals on the board, while I expect the Revs to apply pressure early, hope to get an early goal, and try to defend the lead. However, Seattle’s depth and experience should be able to break through. Seattle 3, Revs 1.

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