Sounders FC (7-5-4) vs. New England Revolution (5-7-3)
Saturday, June 30, 4:30 p.m., Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
TV/radio: KONG 6/16, 97.3 KIRO-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
KEY REVOLUTION PLAYERS
F Saer Sene — The French forward might be the leading candidate for MLS Newcomer of the Year with seven goals, which is tied for sixth best in the league. No one else on the team has more than two. Formerly of Bayern Munich’s reserves, the 25-year-old is 6 foot 3, with athleticism and skill.
M Shalrie Joseph — One of the MLS greats is a rock in the middle of the field and a tremendous two-way player. Has a goal and three assists this season and has had some success against the Sounders in years past. Might’ve been playing in Europe at this point, but MLS rejected a couple transfer offers from Celtic FC about five years ago.
GK Matt Reis — The 37-year-old veteran has been a mainstay for New England since 2003. His stats are in the middle of the pack this season (1.33 goals-against average, three shutouts and a 70 save percentage), but his experience could help him come up big if needed. Was an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist a couple times.
Eddie Johnson vs. A.J. Soares — The Sounders are without Fredy Montero (suspension) and David Estrada (broken foot), so the majority of the goal-scoring responsibilities will fall on the big forward. I wonder if he’ll bring extra motivation into this one after the postgame headlines from Tuesday. He’ll face off against a second-year center back that has been a fixture in the Revs back line from Day One.
Benny Feilhaber vs. Osvaldo Alonso — New England has a few creative options in midfield, but the off-and-on U.S. men’s national is probably the most talented of the bunch. Just one goal and one assist for him this year and space won’t be at a premium with the Sounders’ defensive terrier in the mix.
Seattle’s frustration of a seven-game winless streak vs. the boost of a big U.S. Open Cup win — For our purposes, this is all about the Sounders. When they’re on form, they’re one of the best in the league. As we’ve seen recently, they can also be a very mediocre team when things aren’t clicking. Will this be the day Seattle gets out of it funk? We’ll see which team shows up.
A quick turnaround almost immediately removed the bad taste from Sunday’s loss in Portland, so the Sounders actually have a little momentum coming in. And New England is on a 1-1-3 run, so it’s not like the host has been especially strong recently.
MLS parity says Seattle has to break through at some point. Even though Montero is out, expect Mauro Rosales to move into that withdrawn forward position, so the offense should be OK. The key will be whether the defense can play to zero — or at least keep the Revs from taking an early lead.
A win is long overdue…
Sounders FC 1, New England Revolution 0
SEA — Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales) 40′
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How do you see this one playing out?