The Seattle Sounders will not have much time to get over their 3-2 defeat to Club Leon in the Leagues Cup final Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Sounders travel to Sporting Kansas City to take on the team that is one point ahead of them and in first place in the Western Conference.
“The emotion after a tough loss is hard to describe and hard to handle, but just by default we have to get back on the horse for a stretch of games to close out our regular season,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said.
An injury-riddled Sounders squad (13-5-6, 45 points) dropped a 3-1 home decision to Sporting KC (13-5-7, 46 points) on July 25, with Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi and Cam Duke scoring for the visitors.
“They are in front of us,” Sounders winger Nicolas Benezet said. “That’s the bad thing, and it’s also the good thing because it’s like motivation. We have to beat them to be back on the top of the West, so that’s the goal for us.
“We have to move on. We don’t have any choices. We lost (to Leon), we can’t do anything (about it) anymore. So we have to move on and win the next game.”
Sporting head coach Peter Vermes said he expects the Sounders, who have represented the West in four of the past five MLS Cups, to bounce back.
“Oh yeah. They’re the team in Major League Soccer,” Vermes said. “Week in and week out, you see how they play, how they compete. Their players are incredibly committed. So yeah, it’s going to be, I’m sure, the best version of who they are. It’s obviously a very tough game for us.”
And Kansas City has been a tough place for the Sounders, who have gone 0-4-2 since last winning there in May 2013.
The Sounders will be without playmaking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Monday.
Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz is second in MLS with 14 goals, while Sporting’s Salloi is tied for third with 13.
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