The Seattle Sounders are visiting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday (5:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) in their first meeting this year. Here are three matchups to watch:
Jordan Morris vs. Graham Zusi
Morris, who started the year with a bang, scoring three times in the opening two weeks, gets a favorable matchup on paper against the veteran Zusi. Morris is one of the fastest players in MLS, and on his day is one of the best threats in behind a defense. The 36-year-old Zusi will likely need some help from center back Robert Voloder in trying to keep Morris in front of him.
Sounders right back vs. Erik Thommy
Will it be Kelyn Rowe? Ethan Dobbelaere? Someone else up Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s sleeve? With penciled-in starter Alex Roldan away on international duty with El Salvador, the Sounders will need whoever fills in at right fullback to keep tabs on the 28-year-old German. Thommy had three goals and two assists in 12 matches last year after joining during the Summer Transfer Window from Bundesliga side Stuttgart and will be a key part of SKC’s plan in attack.
Yeimar vs. Willy Agada
Like Thommy, Agada joined SKC last summer and was an instant success, scoring eight times in 12 matches. The 23-year-old Nigerian has yet to score so far this year — SKC is tied for the league-worst with just one goal scored in four games — but he has a nose for goal and scored the winner against the Sounders the last time these two teams met last year. With both starting fullbacks, Roldan and Nouhou, away on international duty and fellow center back Jackson Ragen nursing a bruised rib, the onus defensively will fall on Yeimar. The 2021 MLS Best XI selection has led a resurgent Sounders defense early in 2023, with Seattle earning clean sheets in three of its first four contests.