On Monday night, LAFC and the Seattle Sounders meet in a highly anticipated Round of 16 match of the MLS is Back Tournament. Here are three things to watch for.
For the first time since their Western Conference final encounter, Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders will face another in a highly anticipated tie. Much like their last fixture, there is a lot on the line with a spot in the quarter-finals of the MLS is Back Tournament is at stake.
The winner of this Round of 16 match has the potential to go very far in this competition with both teams highly regarded before the tournament began. They both won silverware last year with the Sounders claiming the MLS Cup and LAFC winning the Supporters’ Shield and will once again be vying for the title here.
Ahead of what could be one of the games of the entire competition, here are three things to watch for.
3. Coming into top form
Neither club got off to a good start in the group stage of this tournament.
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The Seattle Sounders drew their first match and then lost to the Chicago Fire before defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps and squeezing into the knockout stages. LAFC ran into trouble against the Houston Dynamo and had to come from behind to draw 3-3. They unleashed an offensive frenzy against the Los Angeles Galaxy to win 6-2 but then drew again, this time conceding a late goal to the Portland Timbers.
Both clubs finishing in second place in their respective groups was not what was expected but they have improved as the competition has gone on. This should set up a very exciting encounter. The Round of 16 has already proven that a less than stellar run of form in the group stage does not carry over. New York City FC barely made it into the knockout round but won comfortably over Toronto FC, who were one of the form teams in the competition. Anything, then, is possible.