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Sounders, LAFC renew acquaintances in KO round

The Seattle Sounders face Los Angeles FC for the first time since knocking them out of last year’s playoffs when they meet in the MLS is Back Tournament round of 16 on Monday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando

After winning the 2019 Supporters’ Shield by earning the most points in MLS history, LAFC were eliminated from the postseason in a 3-1 defeat to eventual MLS Cup champions Seattle in the Western Conference final.

Since then, LAFC (2-0-3, 9 points) haven’t lost, but they did concede seven goals in three tournament games en route to a second-place finish in Group F.

The winner will get to face Orlando City SC in a quarterfinal on Friday.

“We’re excited to have an opportunity to play against Seattle, considering what happened last year,” LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye told reporters. “But we don’t focus too much on who we are playing, really. We just are excited to have another opportunity to play our football.”

Kaye and his teammates are competing in the tournament without Carlos Vela, who set an MLS record with 34 goals in 2019, but opted out of this competition for family health reasons. Bradley Wright-Phillips has scored three times for his new club at the tournament, while Diego Rossi has scored five — four in a 6-2 win over the LA Galaxy, LAFC’s only win in the tournament.

Meanwhile, the Sounders (2-1-2, 8 points) enter the match with eight days of rest after their best performance of the tournament, a 3-0 victory over regional rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Jordan Morris scored a goal, contributed an assist and earned a penalty in the win, Seattle’s first in league play since opening weekend of the regular season.

His performance, as well as that of fellow goal scorers Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz, served the Sounders were treating the tournament seriously, after some surprising earlier results in a draw against San Jose and a loss to Chicago.

“We always try and win every single freakin’ game that we play,” coach Brian Schmetzer said after the win. “It has nothing to do with whether we want to stay here or not. Whether we want to come home or not. It’s every single game of this club, we want to win. Simple as that. End of story.”

–Field Level Media

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