Austin FC’s road trip continues in the Pacific Northwest this weekend as the Verde & Black take on the league-leading Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field on Sunday. The Sounders are currently at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings, having collected 17 points through their first seven matches.
Austin FC Outlook
Sunday will be Austin’s seventh-straight road match to start the season and Josh Wolff’s team will be looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss in Nashville. ATXFC are hoping to get back to their winning ways after three straight losses on the road.
Brad Stuver continues to be a standout for Austin, having conceded just one goal in Nashville and coming up with multiple big saves to keep his team in the match. The 30-year-old has saved 75% of the shots he has faced from shots inside the box, helping him tie for third in MLS.
Jared Stroud provided some punch off the bench -- after he was replaced in the starting XI by Rodney Redes -- and the rest of the Austin attack showed an ability to keep the ball and get into the final third against Nashville. They will now be looking to create some more quality scoring chances.
This match again comes on the road, as Austin start the season on an eight-game road trip before opening Q2 Stadium on June 19 vs the San Jose Earthquakes.
The defending Western Conference champions have shown no signs of slowing down in 2021, despite the fact that they are missing several key players. Brian Schmetzer’s team not only tops the Supporters’ Shield standings, but have by far the best goal differential in MLS at +11.
Their attack is led by Peruvian international Raul Ruidiaz, who sits second in the Golden Boot standings behind Javier “Chichcarito” Hernandez. He has been able to continue his torrid pace in MLS even without talisman Nicolas Lodeiro -- who has missed the vast majority of the season through injury.
After years of playing a 4-2-3-1, Schmetzer changed up his formation with winger Jordan Morris out for the year after suffering a torn ACL while on loan. Seattle are now playing a 3-5-2 and the defense has not missed a beat playing three center backs. They will again be without goalkeeper Stefan Frei in this match after he suffered a leg injury.
The good news for Austin is that Seattle are coming off a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Atlanta United. ATXFC will be hoping to again deny the Sounders three points at home.
Probable Seattle Lineup
(3-5-2, R-L) - GK: Stefan Cleveland; Yeimar Gomez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Nouhou Tolo; Alex Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, Cristian Roldan, Joao Paulo, Brad Smith; Raul Ruidiaz, Will Bruin