Here are three keys for the Sounders’ match against Al Ahly in the FIFA Club World Cup:

Man the Middle

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t hesitate to name Mali international Aliou Dieng as the player he’d pluck from Al Ahly’s roster. The holding midfielder is physical and will test the Sounders as they try to find seams to cut loose their transition game. Controlling the ball in the midfield was an issue for the Sounders during MLS play, especially because of the loss of Joao Paulo to an ACL injury. The Brazilian is expected to play Saturday. Joao Paulo is the kind of gritty, physical player that can help teammates Nico Lodeiro and Albert Rusnak assert themselves in the middle.

Experience vs. Experience

Al Ahly is making their eighth Club World Cup appearance, and it finished third in the past two tournaments. The Egyptian power found comfort in the familiarity and setting in North Africa. This is the Sounders’ first appearance, but they are loaded with veteran players who’ve won multiple trophies together since 2016 and Schmetzer could start the same lineup that brought home the CCL title last spring. They should pull from those big-game experiences to combat not knowing what to expect Saturday.

Gimme a Goal

Haters aren’t wrong in classifying the tournament as a glorified preseason match for the Sounders. The bar isn’t even high — most just don’t want Seattle to suffer a blowout. But it should be concerning if the Sounders can’t create multiple offensive chances. Raul Ruidiaz, Jordan Morris and Fredy Montero combined for six goals the last three months of the MLS season. The drought needs to end.