MX23RW : Wednesday, September 29 02:03:12| >> :120:62915:62915:
Jul 23, 2021 at 2.30am UK at Austin FC Stadium
AustinAustin FC
0-1
SeattleSeattle Sounders

Jimenez (57'), Dominguez (85')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ruidiaz (67')
Oluwabukunmi Adeniran (34'), Ruidiaz (90+4')

Preview: Austin FC vs. Seattle Sounders - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Seattle Sounders, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The newest franchise in MLS, Austin FC, could potentially move into a playoff position with a victory against the Seattle Sounders on Thursday at Q2 Stadium.

The Verde-and-Black lost their last MLS match back on July 7 to Los Angeles FC 2-0, while last weekend Seattle were beaten for the first time this year, 1-0 to Minnesota United.


Match preview

Austin FC forward Cecilio Dominguez celebrates with defender Matt Besler after scoring a goal on June 12, 2021© Reuters

Austin will wrap up their homestand in what should be their toughest test of the season, facing the Seattle Sounders, a team that will be keen to get back in the win column after suffering a rare setback.

For an expansion franchise filled with youngsters, many of whom are playing in their first MLS campaign, Josh Wolff has to be impressed with the resolve that his team have shown through their first 13 games, just one win behind the Portland Timbers for the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

There are 16 points separating Austin and Seattle in the standings, but this team will not fear the reigning Western Conference champions, who were held to a 0-0 draw with the Texans at Lumen Field, one of only two teams to keep the Sounders off the scoreboard this year.

In that match, they hung in there against a side vastly more experienced than they are, firing three shots on target while only conceding two shots on goal to the Sounders.

With three of their next four games at home, this group will have to be at their best to keep pace in the highly competitive Western Conference.

Austin are not that far out of a playoff position, but one defeat can quickly push them off the pace and out of contention, as only two points currently separate them from last-place Dallas in the table.

Seattle Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer on June 27, 2021© Reuters

It took 14 games, but finally, someone was able to beat the Seattle Sounders, a side who look as determined as ever to return to the MLS Cup Final for a third successive year.

In a season where they have gone through a new system, losing some key players due to injury and transfers, Seattle never seem to be phased, but now we will see for the first time how they respond to a defeat.

Under manager Brian Schmetzer, this team have not lost consecutive matches in the regular season since the 2019 campaign, and with Sporting Kansas City nipping at their heels, just three points behind them, they cannot afford another setback.

In their previous four fixtures, the Rave Green flirted with defeat on many occasions, coming from 2-1 down to draw the Vancouver Whitecaps and then narrowly escaping with a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids before losing to the Loons.

Beating Seattle was by no means an easy task last weekend, as Minnesota rarely put the Sounders back five under duress until a weak Sounders pass in their own half of the field provided Minnesota with a chance to counter, and they took full advantage with Robin Lod finishing off a nice centring pass for the only goal of the game.

With a three-game homestand upcoming following their match on Thursday, the Sounders will be eager to regain their narrow cushion atop the Supporters' Shield standings.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L



Team News

Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff shouts at players during the match against Sporting Kansas City on May 9, 2021© Reuters

Austin will be without several key figures for this match, including Aaron Schoenfeld and Ulises Segura with left knee injuries, Nick Lima has a left hamstring problem, Ben Sweat injured his ACL, Danny Hoesen hurt his left hip and Jon Gallagher has a left mid-foot sprain.

Midfielders Tomas Pochettino, Diego Fagundez and Sebastian Berhalter had the chance to play together in a friendly versus Mexican side Tigres UANL last week, and they looked solid despite the 3-1 defeat.

Winger Rodney Redes featured in the starting 11 in that friendly last Tuesday after starting in only two games so far in the regular season.

Sounders midfielder Alex Roldan remains with the El Salvador national team for the Gold Cup, while his older brother Cristian Roldan is with the US national side.

Seattle will also be missing Jordan Morris with an ACL injury, Jordy Delem has a right ACL tear, goalkeeper Stefan Frei continues to struggle with a left knee sprain, Nicolas Lodeiro is recovering from right knee surgery, Will Bruin underwent right knee meniscus surgery, Shane O'Neill has a left hip flexor strain and Nouhou Tolo is out with a left adductor strain.

Striker Raul Ruidiaz is tied with Los Angeles Galaxy forward Chicharito for the league lead with 10 goals, while defender Yeimar Gomez has done a marvellous job in shutting down opposing attacks, leading the league in interceptions with 41.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Jimenez, Cascante, Besler, Kolmanic; Ring, Fagundez, Berhalter; Manneh, Dominguez, Stroud

Seattle Sounders possible starting lineup:
Cleveland; Smith, Gomez, Arreaga; Rowe, Paulo, Medranda, Dobbelaere, Leyva; Montero; Ruidiaz


SM words green background

We say: Austin FC 0-1 Seattle Sounders

Austin are a tough, well-organized defensive unit, with four clean sheets so far, but even though they have earned draws against the top two teams in the Western Conference (Seattle and Kansas City), they still struggle to find the back of the net, going goalless in eight fixtures already this year.

Losing a game will not sit well with the Sounders, who now have some competition atop the table, which will give them even more added motivation to get back to winning ways.


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How you voted: Austin vs Seattle

Austin FC
14.6%
Draw
17.1%
Seattle Sounders
68.3%
82
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England28195453332062
2Nashville SCNashville261112344242045
3New York City FCNY City26116944301439
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2510873225738
5Orlando City2610883738-138
6DC United26114114538737
7CF MontrealMontreal2610793732537
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta269983531436
9Columbus Crew2797113236-434
10Inter MiamiInter Miami2595112540-1532
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2586113129230
12Chicago Fire2766152643-1724
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2548132648-2220
14Toronto2647152851-2319

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England28195453332062
2Nashville SCNashville261112344242045
3New York City FCNY City26116944301439
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2510873225738
5Orlando City2610883738-138
6DC United26114114538737
7CF MontrealMontreal2610793732537
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta269983531436
9Columbus Crew2797113236-434
10Inter MiamiInter Miami2595112540-1532
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2586113129230
12Chicago Fire2766152643-1724
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2548132648-2220
14Toronto2647152851-2319

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