Sounders FC (9-7-4) at Toronto FC (4-10-8)
Saturday, Aug. 10, 4 p.m., BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
Local TV/radio: KONG 6/16, KIRO 97.3 (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Mark Geiger
KEY TORONTO FC PLAYERS
M Matias Laba — The 21-year-old Argentine was signed a Young Designated Player this season and got his first goal last week in a 1-0 win against the Revolution. He’s a box-to-box type guy in the middle of the field, according to Seattle coach Sigi Schmid. He has started every game since the start of May, so he’s surely starting to feel comfortable for the Reds.
M Bobby Convey — Remember him? Some may say he’s been in Toronto FC purgatory, but he’s actually started 10 games in a row. Two weeks ago he had assists on both goals of a 2-1 win against Columbus. On his fourth MLS team now since his career began in 2000, and surprisingly he’s only had two seasons with more than his three assists right now.
D Steven Caldwell — The Scottish center back joined midseason from Birmingham in England, and he’s been a mainstay in what Schmid called a much improved defense. He’s already earned the captain’s armband, so that should give an indication of how his club feels about him. Also has experience with clubs like Newcastle, Blackpool, Leeds United, Sunderland and Wigan.
Lamar Neagle vs. Richard Eckersley — Personally, I’m not sure if Clint Dempsey starts in his first game. He will be eventually, and in what we got to watch of Wednesday’s practice, Dempsey was out on the left with some of the starters. Neagle surely noticed that and is one Sounder in particular that stands to lose playing time after the big signing. Eckersley, oh yeah, began his career with Manchester United.
Jeremy Brockie vs. Patrick Ianni — TFC had one of the hottest players in the league earlier this year in Robert Earnshaw, but Brockie has been starting more consistently of late up front. The New Zealand international has a goal and three assists, and this will be the last home game of his loan. Ianni really has a chance to claim his position as a starter, having played in back-to-back wins.
TFC’s hot streak vs. Seattle’s road woes — Here’s a hard-to-believe fact, or maybe it isn’t so unbelievable, the Reds are on their first winning streak within the league since last July. 13 months. Wow. Also something that’s been overlooked, the Sounders haven’t done well on the road this season and are actually on a three-game losing streak away from CenturyLink Field.
Two teams and two two-game winning streaks.
Confidence will be high for both sides, but I think quality will prove the difference in this one, and it’s hard to ignore the strength of the Sounders right now. Seattle just made of the biggest signings in league history and its getting much healthier with potential returns in Michael Gspurning and Shalrie Joseph.
The Sounders are known for the second-half push, and it looks like we could be seeing another…
Sounders FC 2, Toronto FC 0
SEA — Eddie Johnson (Brad Evans) 34′
SEA — Patrick Ianni (Mauro Rosales) 67′
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What do you think? How do you see this one playing out?