sounders

MLS Matchup Report: Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls

Going for 3 straight in the Big Apple

After winning this last week in MLS, experiencing the emotional return of Steve Zakuani to the pitch, and advancing the U.S. Open Cup finals during midweek, the Sounders have some momentum going.

The question now is whether this short run of success can continue on the team’s final road trip to the East Coast in 2012.

Kickoff: 4:00 PM EST
Record
SEA 8-5-6 (2-2-5 V)
NYRB 9-5-4 (5-0-2 H)
Matchup

Neither the Sounders nor the Red Bulls have been playing particularly well in the last 5 matches.

Despite the fact that Seattle just escaped a record winless streak, they actually have been better than New York.

The match represents a stern test for the Sounders. There are 3 factors that make this match difficult.

  • The New York Red Bulls have yet to lose at home this year with 5 wins and 2 draws. You can’t ignore this type of success despite the New York side’s recent form.
  • Seattle is in the midst of a punishing stretch of matches. The majority of the games have been on the road.
  • I think that it’s only a matter of time until the thousands of miles they travel catch up to them.
  • The dynamic duo of Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper can score goals. More on that later though.

New York Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls are struggling. Their most recent match was a 2-0 loss to the same New England Revolution team that drew the Sounders a couple weeks back.

The team will be looking to recover their form in Red Bull Arena where they have been quite comfortable so far this year.

Red Bulls fans can breathe a sigh of relief as their young goalkeeper Ryan Meara appears to be ready to go against Seattle, despite taking a knee to the head in last week’s match.

Seattle Sounders FC

The last week has been a roller coaster of emotions for the Sounders. It started last Saturday when Steve Zakuani returned to the pitch during the Sounders 2-1 victory over Colorado.

You could almost taste the euphoria in CenturyLink Field.

The team continued to play exciting attacking football when they completely smashed Chivas USA in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal. The best storyline of that game was that Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson looked like they could both excel on the pitch at the same time.

Johnson continued his torrid run of form with a goal and Montero found himself back on the scoresheet after a very active game with a beautiful assist to Brad Evans.

On Thursday night 9-year Sounder Roger Levesqueannounced his retirement effective next week. This is a sad note, but it should’t affect the team too much. I assume they’ve known of this development for a while.

Steve Zakuani

Last Saturday when Steve Zakuani returned to the pitch Sounders fans everywhere felt a renewed sense of hope.

During the last week the Sounders returned to positive, possession-based, attacking soccer. They’ll need to continue this approach at New York.

Matchup to watch: Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper vs. Sounders Center Backs

Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper have been devastating up front this year. Their 20 goals represents one of the most productive and potent forward tandems in the league.

The 2 New York front men are especially concerning because of the defensive lapses that the Sounders have been prone to in the last 10-12 games.

The starting centerbacks will have their hands full from the first whistle.

The Sounders’ chances would be greatly aided if Michael Gspurning can start in the goal for the first time in 15 matches.

Predictions

The Sounders seem to have weathered their annual poor stretch of play. They go into the Big Apple playing entertaining soccer again.

I expect the team to play a strong match and hold their own against the Red Bulls. It may be too much to ask for a win though given the miles that the side has traveled recently, and New York’s undefeated home record.

I think we’ll see an entertaining draw on Sunday afternoon.

Seattle Sounders FC 2 – New York Red Bulls 2

Video preview


Are you coming to a match soon? Connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to hook up with you for a pre-match drink.

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