by ANTHONY J. MERCED
The New York Red Bulls look to make it three wins in a row as they travel to CenturyLink Field to play the reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders. Coach Jesse Marsch’s team is rounding into form after a tough road win and a dominating home performance.
New York hasn’t gotten its offense going but it has a stranglehold on key statistics that make a coach smile. The team has controlled possession, shots and scoring-chance statistics in both games while surrendering one goal.
Seattle hasn’t started the way it finished last year. The Sounders have yet to win in their first two games, needing a late goal to steal a point from Montreal. Still, the team is loaded with star-power players like Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro. The Sounders will always be dangerous and in front of one of the loudest crowds in the league.
PROJECTED STARTING XI:
Red Bulls: Robles; Lawrence, Long, Perrinelle, Zizzo; Kljestan, Felipe, Davis, Royer; Wright-Phillips, Etienne Jr.
Seattle: Frei; Jones, Marshall, Alfaro, Svensson; Alonso, Roldan; Fernandez, Lodeiro, Dempsey; Morris
Player to Watch: Sal Zizzo has impressed to start the season after many thought his inclusion would be a detriment to the team. Connor Lade is still rounding into form after last year’s knee injury and players like Justin Bilyeu have attempted to make their mark to little avail. Through all of this Zizzo has had two strong games and continues to play a key role.
X-Factor: Fredrik Gulbrandsen, 24, is getting more time with his new team and could come off the bench much sooner this week should Etienne Jr. prove to be ineffective. Gulbrandsen looked solid in the few minutes he played last week but that was in place of Bradley Wright-Phillips. There may be time for him to play alongside the Red Bulls’ key striker in this match as he becomes more comfortable.
Where to Watch: Sunday, 7 p.m. Eastern, Fox Sports 1 (kickoff at 7:18 p.m.)