In MLS, having good players can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Obviously, you want the best players to try and win as many games as possible and take home some silverware, be it the Supporters Shield and/or the MLS Cup. However, it also means that at points during the season, those players are likely to be called in to their country’s international team. Well, one of those points has come and the Seattle Sounders are going to be very depleted in their game against the Montreal Impact this evening.
Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay), Raul Ruidiaz (Peru), Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), Jordan Morris (United States), Cristian Roldan (United States), Roman Torres (Panama), Gustav Svensson (Sweden), and Brad Smith (Australia) have all been called in to their country’s respective side. That’s ten players, all of whom have started at least one game this season for Seattle. Two more starters, Kim Kee-Hee and Victor Rodriguez, are listed as questionable with injuries.
Luckily, the Sounders focused on depth this past off-season. Rodriguez is more likely to start that Kim, which would leave the Sounders with a projected starting eleven of goalkeeper Stefan Frei, defenders Kelvin Leerdam, Jonathan Campbell, Saad Abdul-Salaam, and Nouhou, midfielders Alex Roldan and Jordy Delem, wingers Harry Shipp, Victor Rodriguez, and Joevin Jones, and forward Will Bruin. All of those players have at least seen the field this season, with most of them starting at least one match. Jones, presumably, would make his first start since returning to the team. If Rodriguez is unable to start, it’s likely that Handwalla Bwana would fill the role. It’s also likely that the youngest Sounder ever will see the pitch tonight, be it Danny Leyva or Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, both of whom are too young to vote but will be in Montreal with the first team.
Also luckily for Seattle, the Impact will have their own share of absences. Daniel Lovitz (United States), Zachary Brault-Gillard (Canada), Samuel Piette (Canada), Micheal Azira (Uganda), Omar Browne (Panama) and Jukka Raitala (Finland) will all be out on international duty, and Ignacio Piatti (knee), Orji Okwonkwo (leg injury), Mathieu Choiniere (concussion) are out with injuries. Pitatti is the biggest loss for them, having scored four goals already on the season. The Impact are 1-3-1 in their last five and have not exactly looked sharp in those games. Even with a squad of mostly bench players, this is a winnable game for Seattle.
Of course, they’ll have to get past goalkeeper Evan Bush, who has 40 saves on the season. The Sounders have struggled to score goals, especially when Ruidiaz and Morris have been out of the lineup, recently after a hot start. They did score three in their most recent match against Dallas, but two of them were on their own goal… As long as the Sounders aren’t kicking them, however, Stefan Frei has been a pretty sturdy wall in goal. He sits at 50 saves, third best in MLS, and Montreal has had even more trouble scoring than Seattle.
If Seattle sticks to their game plan, they should be able to get a win on the road. Worst case scenario should be a nil-nil tie. Of course, the Sounders have recently proven that worst case scenario can always be worse. Here’s hoping they take the fight to the Impact and take home points.
Tonight’s game starts at 4:30 pm PST and will air on Joe TV locally and stream on YouTube TV globally. You can also listen to the game on KJR 950 AM or El Rey 1360 AM for the Spanish broadcast.