FOX Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas expects the Seattle Sounders to be able to bounce back from an 0-2 start in MLS play.
Lalas, a former U.S. Men's National Team player, is a part of FOX's broadcast team for the Sounders' game Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Lumen Field. Despite consecutive 1-0 losses to Nashville SC and Real Salt Lake in MLS play, the Sounders have had convincing 5-0 and 3-0 victories over FC Motagua and Club Lèon, respectively, in Concacaf Champions League action.
Lalas has faith that the Sounders talent will eventually carry over to the MLS schedule as well, potentially as soon as this Saturday against the Galaxy.
"I think this Galaxy team is not necessarily great. I do think that the Seattle team is a better team. But I think this is a really important moment for this team. Even early on," Lalas said on Friday. "It's so important for them to say listen, while it hasn't gone well in the first two games, this is who we are. In front of their home fans, against in particular this Los Angeles Galaxy team, to say 'don't worry, we're still a very, very good team, and we're going to have ups and downs just like everybody else. But this is a team that you can have faith is going to give you the quality type of soccer that you expect and the results that you expect.'"
Lalas said that the performances in Concacaf play speak to the potential that the Sounders have offensively, especially with the addition of Albert Rusnák and the return of Jordan Morris and Nicolás Lodeiro from injuries.
The Sounders are vying to be the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League since it changed formats in 2008. Since the new format was introduced only Mexican teams have won the title. A 3-0 result over Lèon last week in the first leg of their match gives Seattle a great chance to advance to the semifinals, where they'd face the winner of New York City FC and Comunicaciones FC. NYC FC has a 3-1 advantage in their match through the first leg.
"You would have to bet that the Seattle Sounders would love to be that team that plants the flag as the MLS team to win Concacaf Champions League. I think they've got a really good shot at it this year. -- a do all the MLS teams, in particular, this year. And so putting all those eggs in that basket, especially early in the season, I think it's prudent."
Given the strong play in Concacaf matches, the lack of goals through two MLS games stands in stark contrast. The standard of play the Sounders have put out has brought expectations with it. And while the start to the year in MLS play has been a bit slow, Lalas has faith it will come.
"We have expectations of the Seattle Sounders," Lalas said. "Certainly from the outside, and from the inside. And so when you start off the year in an MLS capacity and lose your first two games, especially with the new additions and the idea that this is going to be something even better, yeah, we're left saying' hey, what's going on up there?' Now, they've done very well in Concacaf Champions League. I know they're kind of fighting on multiple fronts. I have no worries that this is still going to be a very good team and a very competitive team. It's just the reality of being the Seattle Sounders and that we expect you to win every game we expect you to be one of the great teams in Major League Soccer and for the most part, and certainly over the last 10 years let's say you've lived up the billing."
The Sounders and Galaxy kick off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on FOX.
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