Defending champions Seattle Sounders host Minnesota United in the Western Conference final on Tuesday (2:30 AM kick-off, UK time) for a place in the MLS Cup final.
The Sounders finished second in the West during the regular season and came into the Playoffs heavily fancied by most having contested three of the last four MLS Cup finals, winning two of them.
Brian Schmetzer’s men routinely took apart Los Angeles FC 3-1 in the first round with goals from Nico Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris seeing off the 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners before a Shane O’Neill goal sealed a 1-0 win against FC Dallas last time out.
While Seattle were many people’s favourites, Minnesota United entered the 2020 Playoffs very much as dark horses, dangerous enough to hurt any side on their day but not quite considered a genuine contender.
Adrian Heath’s men have thrown narrative out of the window so far, however, pulling off consecutive 3-0 wins over Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City to reach this stage. The Loons have shown attacking verve and defensive solidity in equal measure and have all the weapons to send the Sounders packing, should the reigning champions let their guard down.
Where to watch Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United on TV:
- UK: Free Sports
- US: Fox Sports 1
Where to live stream Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United:
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*Geo restrictions apply, 18+ only, must have a funded account, BeGambleAware. All odds and offers within this article are accurate at the time of writing (06/12/2020, 11:45)
Seattle Sounders & Minnesota United’s previous line-ups:
- Seattle Sounders (vs FC Dallas): Frei; A. Roldan, Gomez, O’Neill, Tolo; C. Roldan, Paulo; Jones, Lodeiro, Morris; Ruidiaz.
- Minnesota United (vs Sporting KC): St. Clair; Metanire, Boxall, Dibassy, Gasper; Gregus, Alonso; Finlay, Reynoso, Molino; Lod.
Brad Smith is a doubt for the Sounders after straining his right adductor, while Gustav Svensson may also miss out with a hip problem.
Tyler Miller, Luis Amarilla and Ike Opara all remain sidelined for Minnesota but Heath has no new injury or suspension issues.
Players to watch:
- Seattle Sounders: Raul Ruidiaz notched four goals and four assists during the 2019 Playoffs en route to the Sounders’ MLS Cup title win and was tipped by many to be the match-winner in a team of match-winners once again this year. The Peru international opened his account in this year’s post-season quickly, too, grabbing a goal and assist as Seattle clinically dispatched LAFC. Ruidiaz was forced to be more patient in a tight game against FC Dallas last time out but when he clicks, Schmetzer’s side are unstoppable. In fact, even when he’s not quite laced up his shooting boots, Ruidiaz’s movement and hold-up play allow the likes of Morris and Lodeiro that much more freedom in the final third. Heath will be hard at work planning how to keep the Seattle Designated Player quiet in this one.
- Minnesota United: With four goals in two games, Kevin Molino has undoubtedly been Minnesota United’s hero in the 2020 Playoffs so far. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the Trinidad and Tobago international did help himself to nine goals and four assists across 18 appearances during the regular season, enough to see him finish runner-up in MLS’ Comeback Player of the Year award. Molino’s ice-cool finishing has been a sight to behold but perhaps more impressive has been the intelligence he has displayed in both Playoff games so far, drifting deep and centrally to link play before running beyond the main striker, making him a nightmare to mark. Seattle have been defensively solid over the past two games but their resolve will be seriously tested by Molino here.
Scoreline prediction: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Minnesota United
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