Brian Schmetzer expressed his frustrations after losing Seattle Sounders star Raul Ruidiaz for the home MLS clash with Los Angeles FC on Saturday.
The Sounders can extend their home winning streak to three games in the league at Lumen Field, currently occupying the final Western Conference playoff position.
Seattle were 4-0 victors over the Vancouver Whitecaps last game,with Ruidiaz bagging two goals before he was withdrawn due to a muscle injury.
“The team’s playing well. We don’t want to rush him back,” Schmetzer said.
Midfielder Cristian Roldan added: “Anytime you play a top Western Conference team that you’re trying to catch, it means more.
“The game means more and the points mean more. … We understand where we’re at. We’re just looking forward to getting into another test, another big game.
“Our players always seem to show up for big moments.”
Los Angeles remain top in the West after a 3-2 over San Jose Earthquakes, but all the talk surrounds the signing of Giorgio Chiellini.
“The opportunity to sign a player like Giorgio was something we could not pass up,” co-president and general manager John Thorrington.
“People may think this is atypical for LAFC, but it’s not as if I would have ever said no to Giorgio Chiellini.
“The conversations were very straightforward. It was around what we felt we needed as a club and what Giorgio’s thoughts were on the next steps of his career.
“It was very clear early on it wasn’t about finances. It was about a mutual fit.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Seattle Sounders – Nicolas Lodeiro
Captain Nicolas Lodeiro bagged his third league goal of the campaign last time out and will need to deliver in the absence of Ruidiaz.
Los Angeles FC – Ryan Hollingshead
Ryan Hollingshead has delivered from the back for Los Angeles, scoring four league goals this season for the table toppers.
KEY OPTA FACTS
·LAFC has won six times against the Sounders in all MLS competitions since entering the league in 2018 (D2 L5), only Portland (7 wins) has done so more often. LAFC has avoided defeat eight times against Seattle, tied with Portland for most in MLS since 2018.
·Now that their CONCACAF Champions League responsibilities have come to an end, the Sounders are once again focused on league play, and getting results. Seattle has won four of its last five league matches (L1) after winning two of its first eight this season (D1 L5).
·LAFC has been lifted by its road form, with the Black and Gold winning four away matches already this season. LAFC totaled just five wins over 26 away matches in the 2020 and 2021 seasons combined.
·The Sounders have recorded three comeback wins in MLS play this season, tied for most in the league, with two of those wins coming in recent home matches (vs. Min, Cha). LAFC, meanwhile, is one of two teams (NYCFC) to win every game in which it had the lead.
·Substitutes have played a key role in LAFC’s great start to the season, scoring a league-high 10 goals, with seven different players coming off the bench to find the net. Only four times in MLS history has a team had more than 12 goals from substitutes in a single campaign.