SEATTLE – Two sides hoping to reverse their early-season fortunes will meet on Saturday afternoon when the New England Revolution visits Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
Kickoff between the Revs (1-2-1, 4 pts.) and Sounders (0-3-1, 1 pt.) is set for 4 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet, while the radio call will be available on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Both teams aiming to get back on track after early-season struggles
A quick glance at the MLS standings shows the Revs and Sounders at the bottom of their respective conferences, so Saturday afternoon presents an important chance for both sides to begin climbing the table.
The Revs haven’t won – or scored – since a season-opening victory over the Chicago Fire, but their league-best defense (two goals against in four games) has been a bright spot and kept them close to the pack in the East. Last weekend’s bye didn’t come at the most opportune time for a team smarting from a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas, but it did give the Revs a chance to work on some areas which need improvement moving forward.
“Tough result, obviously, going into the bye, but we had the weekend off,” said Chris Tierney. “We’ve had a good week of training here, we’re refreshed and ready to roll on Saturday.”
The Sounders, meanwhile, enter the weekend as the league’s last remaining winless club, and like the Revs have struggled to generate an attack with just two goals through four games. Seattle also had last weekend off from MLS play, but Sigi Schmid’s side did play on Tuesday night in Mexico, earning a 1-1 draw with Santos Laguna but falling on aggregate in the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Past Meetings: Revs hope to return to winning ways vs. Sounders
New England controlled the early days of the series with Seattle, winning three of the first four meetings after the Sounders joined MLS as an expansion side in 2009. But the tables have turned in recent years as the Revs are 0-2-1 in their last three meetings with the Pacific Northwest club, including a 2-2 draw at Gillette Stadium last year.
CenturyLink Field has proven a difficult venue for road teams and that’s held true for the Revolution. After winning on their first-ever visit to Seattle in 2009, the Revs have suffered a pair of losses in the Emerald City, including on their most recent visit to CenturyLink Field back in June 2011.
Injury Report: Alston on teammates’ minds after leukemia diagnosis; Martins out for Seattle
Saturday’s game will be the Revolution’s first since the club was rocked by the news that Kevin Alston has been diagnosed with a rare but treatable form of leukemia, forcing him to take an indefinite leave of absence to undergo treatment. Alston’s teammates have spent the week processing the news while keeping focused on Seattle, but there’s no doubt the 24-year-old will be a source of inspiration when they take the field on Saturday.
Chad Barrett will also be sidelined on Saturday as he recovers from a left hamstring strain, but Matt Reis (L knee irritation) and Saer Sene (L ACL tear) have both been upgraded to questionable as they make strides to return. Reis has missed a pair of games early this season while dealing with a bit of swelling in his left knee, while Sene is aiming to make his long-awaited return from the torn ACL he suffered last August.
The Sounders will be without a pair of forwards on Saturday as Designated Player Obafemi Martins (R leg tendon injury) and fellow striker David Estrada (L eye injury) have both been ruled out. A third forward, Eddie Johnson (L hamstring strain), is questionable, along with midfielder Brad Evans (L calf strain) and defender Patrick Ianni (R foot fracture).
Final Thoughts: Circumstances make for an intriguing matchup on Saturday
“Seattle’s a difficult place to play, but I think we’re going to come out and play the way we know how to play,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I think both teams are still finding their rhythm a little bit and I think that’s going to probably be a recipe for a pretty good game.”