Preview | Week 21

The Black-and-Red travel to Seattle on Wednesday, July 19, at 10:30 PM looking to start the second half of the season strong. The Sounders are always a tough opponent, but they are especially so at home where they have a 4-1-3 record. Seattle sit just outside a playoff spot in the western conference and will be looking for a statement win to start the second half of the season against United.

What's on Tap

But coach Ben Olsen’s side will have plenty to say about that. With a two starts and a goal under his belt, recently acquired forward Deshorn Brown is beginning to gel with the team, as shown by his goal against FC Dallas assisted by Luciano Acosta. Brown’s quickness should provide pressure on Seattle’s defensemen, pushing them back and providing space between the midfield and back line for Acosta and wide players to operate.

But the story of the break for United was Ian Harkes, who won MLS Goal of the Week for his stunner that opened the scoring against FC Dallas on July 4, which should make his first career MLS goal a memorable one. He was also nominated for Best Male College Athlete at the ESPYs for his exploits last season at Wake Forest University. Harkes, who leads all rookies in minutes played this season, will be hoping to continue his good run of form the second half of the season with a good performance in Seattle.

Since Clint Dempsey was called up to the USMNT,  the Sounders will be without his seven goals. But Brian Schmetzer’s team still present a plethora of challenges for Steven Birnbaum and the United defense. United’s full backs will be tested early and often by Uruguayan midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro and defender/midfielder Joevin Jones. The speedy pair are two of the best in the league at their positions and each have six assists this season, while forward Will Bruin will look to use his strength and size against the United defenders.

While Seattle have a potent attack, the club has given up 28 goals this season, albeit only six at home. Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan will be back for Wednesday’s game after earning his first cap with the USMNT during the Gold Cup group stage. However, Seattle will still be without forward Jordan Morris, who remains in Bruce Arena’s squad alongside United’s Bill Hamid, who still leads the league in saves with 73.

The match gets underway at 10:30 PM ET on NewsChannel 8.