It’s game day, and it’s a nervy one: New York City FC are hosting Seattle Sounders on the freshly-watered grass at Red Bull Arena for the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals. NYCFC lost the first leg 3-1, which means they need to be at peak performance if they’re to advance and play Pumas UNAM in the Finals.
An estimated 4,500 tickets have been distributed for the game. While that pales in comparison to the 31,000 who were at Lumen Field last week, it’s a solid showing for a midweek match with a 9 pm ET kickoff time to accommodate the West Coast television audience—and that's a lonely PATH ride away in New Jersey.
New York City and Seattle have met a total of six times. After last week’s contest, NYCFC and the Sounders are even at three wins each and 10 goals apiece.
Match: NYCFC host Seattle Sounders
Date and Time: Wednesday, April 13, 9 pm ET
Venue: Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ
Watch: FS1, TUDN
Stream: Foxsports.com, TUDN.com
Listen: The game will be broadcast in both English and Spanish on NYCFC Radio
• Injury report: NYCFC midfielder Maxi Moralez is out with a rib injury suffered while training in Seattle, and defender Maxime Chanot is out with an eye injury suffered while on international duty with the Luxembourg national team. Both players were sorely missed last week when the attack could have used the playmaking magic of Moralez, and the defense needed the steel of Chanot. Defender Anton Tinnerholm is out with the Achilles injury he suffered last October. The rest of the squad is available.
• The Passaic County 4-H weather station reports it will be a balmy 61˚ at kickoff.
• NYCFC advance if they score two goals or more and hold the Sounders scoreless. (Thank you, away-goal rule.) The math becomes more complicated should Seattle score in Red Bull Arena. If Seattle get just one goal, NYCFC will need to score three to draw and send the match to a penalty shootout, or score four to win. If Seattle score two or more times, NYCFC will need to beat them by at least three goals to advance.
• Seattle has an easier path: If the Sounders win, draw, or lose by one goal, they will advance. Seattle can afford to ship goals as long as they score: The Sounders will advance if they score at least twice and lose by two goals or fewer.
• Questions remain for New York City after last week’s game, when NYCFC were outplayed, outclassed, and outscored by Seattle Sounders.
• NYCFC does have attacking options: Héber rediscovered his scoring skills in his most recent appearance, and Brazilian right-winger Gabriel Pereira made a strong impression when he joined the club last month. Both sat on the bench last week, but could be called on to play tonight.
• Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer announced that his squad is mostly fit, with only defender Yeimar Gomez sitting out because of an injury. Gomez also missed the first leg in Seattle. Defender Nouhou Tolo, a Cameroon international who didn’t play in the first leg because of yellow card accumulation, will be on the game-day roster.
• Know your enemy—read our scouting info on Seattle in the Bielsa Report: Five things you should know about Seattle Sounders.
• The Sounders are feeling
• When you have lemons, make lemonade: We’re talking about trekking out to Red Bull Arena, of course. The Third Rail are making the most of the ample parking by hosting a tailgate party that starts at 6 pm ET.
• Going to the game? Hudson River Blue asked journalist Ben Cork, Managing Editor of Once a Metro, to let us know how to get the most out of a night at Red Bull Arena. He told us the best way to get there, where to pre-game, and why you should head straight to Brisas Empanadas once inside the stadium.
Tonight, Thiago Martins will...
This poll is closed
Be the warrior he says he is, lock down the defense
Look wobbly but come through, pull off the shutout we need
Give us more reasons to question why he’s a Designated Player
Does the J1 League have a money-back guarantee?
• The comment section below is for everybody in the Hudson River Blue community to use for the game thread. Not a member? It’s free: Sign up here.
UPDATE: The starting lineup was announced at 8:09 pm ET