Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by MARK FISHKIN

Fresh off a 1-0 away win in the US Open Cup, the Red Bulls return to Red Bull Arena for the first time in three weeks and welcome the Clint Dempsey-less Seattle Sounders to Harrison.

New York is riding stellar form, with a 6-1-1 record since April 24th. The club has posted four successive clean sheets, and have won four straight matches at home.

Can the good mojo continue against the a Seattle squad that’s lost three of four?


Match Information:

Sunday, June 19th at Red Bulls Arena. 7:36p Kickoff

TV/Streaming: Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports Go

Red Bulls Radio: TuneIn App and www.newyorkredbulls.com/matchday/radio

Referee: Chris Penso

Record: GF/GA, Division & League Position, Current League Form

New York: 19 points from 14 matches, 24GF/20GA, t-2nd in the East, t-8th in MLS, DLWWW

Seattle: 16 points from 13 matches, 13GF/15GA, 9th in the West, t-13th in MLS, WLLLW


Projected Lineups

New York:

NYvSEA

Seattle:

Sea v NY


New York’s front line vs. the Sounders’ defense

Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Dylan Remick, Zach Scott, Brad Evans, and Tyrone Mears (and Stefan Frei)

With five goals scored in his last two league matches, BWP has only shaken off the rust of the season’s slow start. Still, Wright-Phillips is tied for second in MLS with eight tallies on the season.  The Sounders’ back line is a veteran group that concedes just over one goal per match. Former Ivy Leaguer Remick has steadily increased his cap totals since being drafted by Seattle in 2013. The ageless Zach Scott has worn the Sounders uniform since 2000, when the club played in the USL. One-time US International Brad Evans is the Seattle captain. He’s yet to register a point this season. 33 year-old Englishman Tyrone Mears came to the Sounders after fourteen years bouncing around his country’s leagues, including stops at Man City, PNE, Derby County, Burnley, and Bolton. Frei has won 39 matches for Seattle since 2014, and has posted 4 shutouts in 12 appearances this season.

Advantage: New York


Seattle’s attack vs. the Red Bull back line

Jordan Morris vs. Connor Lade, Aurelien Collin, Ronald Zubar, and Sal Zizzo (and Luis Robles)

The homegrown Morris (5G/1A) has already made history with the US National Team, winning caps and scoring goals as a student at Stanford. Turning down offers from Europe, Morris signed with his hometown club and on Sunday will attempt to emulate Clint Dempsey, who’s still away with the US.  Morris has something to prove to Jurgen Klinsmann after being left off the Copa America squad. Morris scored at DCU in the Sounders’ last league match.  New York’s defense continues to resemble a hospital ward, as Kemar Lawrence, injured in Jamaica’s first Copa America match, will miss 3-5 weeks. Connor Lade (9 apps) should get the start. Collin’s arrival has sparked the Red Bulls’ stellar defensive play. The Red Bulls have conceded only three times in the six matches (league + cup) that the Frenchman’s played.  Zubar (1G) should join Collin in center defense, but Baah (1G) will make a bid to get the nod as well. Zizzo (2A) will once again play on the right.  For the second straight year, Robles posted a shutout in the US Open Cup’s fourth round. New York  won 1-0 at Rochester on Wednesday.

Advantage: New York


The Midfields

Mike Grella, Dax McCarty, Sasha Kljestan, Felipe, and Lloyd Sam vs. Cristian Roldan, Andreas Ivanschitz, Erik Frieberg, Osvaldo Alonso, and Aaron Kovar

Both of Sunday’s sides play five-man midfields, but New York plays a 2-3 while Seattle’s starts off flat. Grella (4G/3A) is on course to match his numbers from a year ago (9G/7A). McCarty (2G/1A) played the full 90 on Wednesday at Rochester, as did Kljestan (2G/10A), who’s early penalty was the match winner. Kljestan in the league’s leading assist man, and is on pace to be just the second MLS player to record 20 in a single season (Valderrama had 26 in 2000). Felipe (3G/3A) and Sam (1G/4A) come into the match well rested. Neither has played since May 28th. For the Sounders, Roldan (1A) has yet to find the net in 34 appearances for Seattle. Ivanschitz (1G/3A), a former Red Bull Salzburg player, leads the club in assists. Frieberg (1A) the center mid, is in his second stint with the Sounders. After spending 2011 with the club, he bounced from Malmo to Bologna to Goteborg before returning to Seattle in 2014.  Osvaldo Alonso (1G/2A) is the hard man of Seattle’s midfield. Lastly, Aaron Kovar (1G) is another homegrown Sounder who scored his first MLS goal against New England on May 28th.

Advantage: New York


Coaches:

Jesse Marsch has his team clicking in all faces on the game, and just picked up his second road win of the season on Wednesday in the Open Cup. Marsch was also awarded a contract extension just this week. His challenge will be managing squad rotation as the Red Bulls are the middle of five matches in fourteen days.  The Sounders’ iconic Sigi Schmid will coach his 500th MLS match on Sunday, the first goal to reach that milestone. The club has started unusually slow this season (5-7-1) leading to fan disenchantment with Schmid. Seattle has yet to fill the void left by Obefemi Martins, and has put a ton of pressure on young Morris to perform early in his career. Without Dempsey, the team has struggled.

Advantage: New York


Intangibles:

New York is riding high, with three straight league shutouts and a 307-minute scoreless streak. The last time Seattle visited Red Bull Arena in September of 2014, BWP dropped a hat trick on the Sounders in a 4-1 New York victory. Seattle has only one win in Harrison, a 1-0 decision in May 2010. The Sounders are 1-4-1 on the road this season, the only win coming in Seattle’s last match, a 2-0 win at DC United. As the club hasn’t played at home in a number of weeks, expect a large Father’s Day crowd, though the match will take place at the same time as Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Temps will be dropping through the mid-eighties after a hot, clear summer day.

Advantage: New York


Prediction:

Seattle is poor on the road, and New York has been rock-solid at home. Both teams are trying to kick off the rust after long layoffs. The long trip and Dempsey-less roster will hurt the Sounders. The Red Bulls will control the match and pace. Goals from BWP and Grella will make Red Bull Dads happy in a clinical two-nil victory.