Major League Soccer returns with a fresh set of fixtures as Seattle Sounders and Austin FC square off at Lumen Field Stadium on Monday.
The hosts have started the season brilliantly and currently top the league table. Meanwhile, the visitors will aim to end their poor run of results and get their season up and running.
Seattle Sounders failed to make it four straight wins last time out as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atlanta United.
After taking the lead in the sixth minute through Rail Ruidiaz, the visitors drew level after Josef Martinez converted an 86th-minute penalty.
The draw followed an impressive run of four straight wins in which they scored eight goals and kept three clean sheets.
Brian Schmetzer’s men are now the only unbeaten team in the Western Conference, picking up five wins and two draws from seven games.
This superb run has helped Seattle Sounders rise to the top of the table, two points ahead of second-place Kansas City FC.
Meanwhile, Austin FC failed to end their poor form as they suffered a 1-0 loss away to Nashville FC last Monday.
Randall Leal scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute but it was enough to hand the hosts their second win in seven games.
Josh Wolff’s men have now failed to taste victory in each of their last three outings, dating back to a 1-0 win over Minnesota United FC on 2 May.
The drop-off in form has seen Austin FC fall to 11th place in the Western Conference table, above rock-bottom Dallas FC on goal difference alone.
Seattle Sounders vs Austin FC Head-To-Head
This will be the first meeting between the two Western Conference sides and they will be aiming to begin their rivalry with a win.
Seattle Sounders Form Guide: W-W-W-W-D
Austin FC Form Guide: W-W-L-L-L
Seattle Sounders vs Austin FC Team News
The hosts will be without Stefan Frei (knee), Jordy Delem (ACL), Josh Atencio (muscle) and Nicolas Lodeiro (knee) who are all sidelined with injuries.
Injured: Stefan Frei, Jordy Delem, Josh Atencio, Nicolas Lodeiro
Austin FC have a relatively long absentee list. The likes of Hector Jimenez, Ben Sweat, Ulises Segura and Aaron Schoenfeld have been ruled out with injuries.
Alexander Ring will also sit out the game as he serves his final suspension for picking up a red card in the 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
Injured: Hector Jimenez, Ben Sweat, Ulises Segura, Aaron Schoenfeld
Suspended: Alexander Ring
Seattle Sounders vs Austin FC Predicted XI
Seattle Sounders Predicted XI (3-4-3): Stefan Cleveland; Nouhou Tolo, Yeimar Gomez, Xavier Arreaga; Brad Smith, Alex Roldan, Joao Paulo, Kelyn Rowe; Cristian Roldan, Fredy Monteiro, Raul Ruidiaz
Austin FC Predicted XI (4-3-3): Brad Stuver; Zan Kolmanic, Matt Besler, Jhohan Romana, Nick Lima; Diego Fagundez, Sebastian Berhalter, Tomas Pochettino; Cecilio Dominguez, Jon Gallagher, Jared Stroud
Seattle Sounders vs Austin FC Prediction
Seattle Sounders currently lead the table thanks to their consistently impressive outings. They will likely continue this form and claim all three points on Monday as they take on an out-of-sorts Austin FC side.
We are also backing the hosts to keep a clean sheet, given their defensive solidity in recent weeks.
Prediction: Seattle Sounders 2-0 Austin FC