Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United Preview: Reigning champions welcome red-hot Atlanta
Source: Miguel Martinez/MundoHispanico

Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United Preview: Reigning champions welcome red-hot Atlanta

Atlanta United face their toughest test of the season so far in Seattle.

HarryHarris8
Harry Harris

Atlanta United will face their biggest test of the season on Friday night as they travel to Seattle to take on the reigning MLS Cup champions, the Seattle Sounders.

The hosts have won just once in their opening three games and sit in sixth in the Western Conference while Atlanta have won their last two after losing the opening game of the season, leaving them in third in the Eastern Conference.

Team News

Atlanta United: Tata Martino's side have been red hot as of late, scoring 10 goals in their last two outings but they'll be without MLS leading scorer Josef Martinez for a month. Kenwyne Jones is expected to fill in for Martinez but may see limited minutes on Friday night after a busy international break for the striker.

Paraguayan winger Miguel Almiron was back in training alongside Jones on Thursday after representing his country in World Cup Qualifiers and should be involved quite a lot against Seattle. Defender Zach Loyd has been ruled out with a groin injury.

Projected XI: Kann; Garza, Gonzalez-Pirez, Parkhurst, Mears; Larentowicz, Carmona; Almiron, Gressel, Villalba; Asad.

Seattle Sounders: The rumors that Seattle would field a lesser team than usual seemed to have been false as Jordan Morris appears to have overcome an ankle injury while their players who were busy with internationals have returned and will play. 

Seattle will be without Brad Evans, who continues to nurse a calf injury, but will welcome back Oniel Fisher from his hamstring strain after he and Morris both passed fitness tests. 

Projected XI: Frei; Marshall, Svenson, Jones, Fisher; Roldan, Alonso; Shipp, Bruin, Morris; Lodeiro.

Background

Seattle have kicked a ball more recently than Atlanta, running out 3-1 victors over the New York Red Bulls back on March 19th. Atlanta last played on the 18th of March, winning 4-0 over the Chicago Fire

Atlanta celebrate a 4-2 win over a Seattle side consisting on mainly reserves in preseason. (Source: ATLUTD.com)
Atlanta celebrate a 4-2 win over a Seattle side consisting of mainly reserves in preseason. (Source: ATLUTD.com)

These two sides met in pre-season with Atlanta United emerging with a 4-2 win in Charleston. 

Atlanta can move to the top of the Eastern Conference with a win on Friday night. A home win for Seattle would take them up to second place in the West.

What to Watch For

While it's the first game back from the international break, both sides will have their stars out there at some point. The likes of Clint Dempsey, Almiron, Nicolas Lodeiro and Tito Villalba will all be players to keep an eye on as they can change a game at will.

With Josef Martinez sidelined, it remains to be seen how Martino approaches replacing his superstar striker. Kenwyne Jones, Yamil Asad and even Julian Gressel are all options to replace the Venezuelan.

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