Right back Kelvin Leerdam, sore ankle and all, is in the Sounders lineup on Saturday as the team prepares to honor Clint Dempsey in a prematch retirement ceremony. The Sounders will stick with the exact same lineup that won at Portland last weekend as they go for a league record eighth straight victory.
The Sounders enter Saturday’s contest having won seven in a row to tie a league record held jointly with their day’s opponents, Sporting Kansas City. Not surprisingly, they’re going with much the same lineup that’s gotten them into this position in the first place. The only eyebrow-lifter might be right back Kelvin Leerdam getting the start on an ankle he sprained just six days ago at Portland. Leerdam was still limping around during training late this week, but will clearly try to gut things out as long as he can given the dropoff in pure right back depth behind him.
Saturday’s pregame will be devoted to a ceremony honoring forward Clint Dempsey, who retired Wednesday tied for the franchise lead in goals with Fredy Montero at 47. A special commemorative poster will be given the first 20,000 fans entering CenturyLink Field and it should be no problem reaching that mark given the special event and the on-field stakes in this one.
If the Sounders lose, they can pretty much forget about a first-round playoff bye. KC holds the second of those bye spots in the standings and currently sits seven points ahead of the Sounders.
Meanwhile, holding down just the sixth and final playoff spot at the moment, the Sounders can’t afford a letdown.
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GK Stefan Frei
LB Brad Smith
CB Kim Kee-hee
CB Chad Marshall
RB Kelvin Leerdam
MF Gustav Svensson
MF Osvaldo Alonso
MF Harry Shipp
MF Nicolas Lodeiro
MF Cristian Roldan
FW Raul Rauidiaz