The Seattle Sounders aim to turn around their recent form as they host FC Dallas at Lumen Field late Wednesday night.
Having lost three of their last four, the Rave Green only stand two points clear at the top of the Western Conference while The Hoops have won two in a row, most recently a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
Seattle's injury list is a bit shorter with the return of forward Will Bruin on Saturday, but captain Nicolas Lodeiro remains out with a knee issue. Head coach Brian Schmetzer said he could return in late summer. Brad Smith picked up an adductor injury and won't be in the squad while Nouhou and Stefan Frei remain sidelined.
The Hoops only have two players out through injury: backup goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck, out since January after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and defender Jose Antonio Martinez, missing with a thigh injury. Matt Hedges returned on the weekend and could compete for a starting spot soon.
Seattle: Cleveland; O'Neill, Gómez, Arreaga; A. Roldan, Atencio, Paulo, Rowe, Medranda; Ruidíaz, Montero
FC Dallas: Maurer; Hollingshead, Burgess, Bressan, Che; Cerrillo, Ricuarte, Quignon; Pomykal, Pepe, Ferreira
Ones to watch
Joao Paulo is in discussion for MLS MVP as he has been Mr. Everything for the Sounders this season, especially in the absence of Nicolas Lodeiro consistently having an impact on the offensive end as a deep-lying playmaker and on the defensive side as a destroyer.
18-year-old forward Ricardo Pepi is tied for fifth in MLS with eight goals this season, despite having played just 863 minutes. He began the season behind Franco Jara, but he has delivered and all but won the starting job. The Hoops are 4-2-2 this season when the American youth international starts at center forward and 0-5-2 when he doesn’t.
The last matchup between the two teams was in last year's Western Conference semifinals with Seattle claiming a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Shane O'Neill header in the 49th minute.
The center back latched onto an outswinging corner kick from Lodeiro after Yeimar Gomez set a pick on O’Neill’s marker, then made no mistake in finishing past goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
Dallas came close to an equalizer in the 63rd minute when presented with two golden chances. Michael Barrios fired a Ryan Hollingshead cross from the left flank off the post, only for Andrade to provide a goal-line clearance on a follow-up effort by Andres Ricuarte.
The match will be streamed nationally on ESPN+. JOEtv and Prime Video will have full coverage in Seattle while TXA 21 has all the action in Dallas. Kick-off is scheduled for 10pm Eastern time.