The Sounders return home to CenturyLink Field on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls for the first time since capturing the franchise's first MLS championship last December in Toronto.
This marks a special day for the Sounders, their first home game since capturing the MLS title last December in Toronto. There will be plenty of pregame ceremony to celebrate the win — including the unfurling of the team’s championship banner.
But once that’s done, it truly is on to the current season. The Sounders are fortunate to have salvaged the lone point they did in their first two games on the road and now will face the undefeated New York Red Bulls in front of a crowd expected to be close to 45,000 given the beautiful weather conditions outside.
As mentioned in Saturday’s post, the Sounders have revamped their defense in the continued absence of injured Brad Evans and the now-suspended Roman Torres. Gustav Svensson takes over at center back while Oniel Fisher makes his first start of the season at the right back slot. Harry Shipp makes his second consecutive start out on the left wing after a strong performance in Montreal.
All the shuffling of defenders could make things tough on the Sounders in the early going. And early is when they need to start making more of a game of things, having fallen behind 2-0 in both their road games up to now. They have yet to score in the first half and that’s certainly made things difficult as they’ve found themselves constantly playing from behind.
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Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t mince words when asked what he was most looking forward to on the day.
“Just a win,” he said. “That would be good. We need a win…that’s most important.”
GK: Frei (24)
RB: Fisher (91)
CB: Svensson (4)
CB: Marshall (14)
LB: Jones (33)
CM: Alonso (6) – Captain
CM: Roldan (7)
RM: Lodeiro (10)
AM: Dempsey (2)
LM: Shipp (19)
FW: Morris (13)