Seattle Sounders FC prepares to host New York Red Bulls in a nationally televised match on Sunday to kickoff their 2017 Major League Soccer home schedule.
In the edited videos below, Fox soccer analyst Alexi Lalas, and ESPN/Sounders FC broadcaster Kasey Keller sat down exclusively with me to discuss Seattle’s 2016 championship season, Clint Dempsey’s return, Major League Soccer and the U.S. Mens National Team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Sounders’ 2016 championship season
Seattle defeated Toronto FC on penalty kicks to win their first ever MLS Cup. Both Lalas and Keller commented on the Sounders’ improbable second-half run that led to their finals matchup against Toronto.
"“They got hot at the right time…Maybe their name was on the trophy once they got their run going. You go to an MLS Final. You don’t have a shot on target. You find a way to win the game.” — Kasey Keller“Sometimes you just have to look at the soccer gods and say: ‘Thank you very much for smiling down upon us.'” — Alexi LalasMore from Playing for 90Alexia Putellas reaches 400 games with BarcelonaEverything you need to know ahead of the 250th ‘Super Clásico’Barcelona put five past Real BetisManchester City suffer but come away with win over West HamBaffling Liga MX ruling strips Puebla of a hard-earned victory"
Clint Dempsey’s return
The Seattle forward stopped playing last August after suffering from an irregular heartbeat. An offseason procedure allowed Dempsey to return to training. He’s already scored one goal in two matches to kickoff the 2017 MLS season.
The two national team veterans were relieved and excited to have Dempsey back on the pitch.
Lalas felt fans were deprived of the Texas native’s “magic” while he recuperated. He added the national team was better off with Dempsey on the squad.
Continuing on the topic of the USMNT, Lalas shared his thoughts on the team’s upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama.
The U.S. failed to earn a single point in their last two matches against Mexico and Costa Rica. This led to Bruce Arena replacing Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach.
According to the former national team defender, Arena faces questions about how his players will react in the two games against their CONCACAF rivals.
Here are the full interviews with Lalas and Keller:
The Sounders plan to unveil the team’s 2016 MLS Cup Championship banner prior to the start of the match. The club expects a record home opening crowd in excess of 40,000 to attend the game.
The only question is whether or not the Sounders can manage to repeat.