United States international Michael Bradley will make his much-anticipated Toronto FC debut at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday as the revamped Reds, in search of their first postseason appearance, open their 2014 Major League Soccer season in Seattle. With former Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe joining him in Ryan Nelsen’s team, Toronto will have both of their big-ticket acquisitions available when they kick off at CenturyLink.
Kyle Martino, John Strong, and Ross Thaler are in Seattle to bring you the meeting between Bradley and U.S. Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey. If you can’t tune in to the broadcast on NBCSN, the game will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Seattle’s own offseason revamp got off to a strong start last week, with the season’s opening game decided in the 94th minute by one of the team’s unheralded acquisitions: Chad Barrett. Converting from close range against the defending champions, the former Toronto attacker gave his new team a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, delivering three points to a team looking for a rebound.
Last Saturday also saw Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, and Marco Pappa make their Seattle debuts, starting in a team that left Dempsey on the bench. After a full week of training (having only returned from international duty shortly before last week’s game), last season’s headline acquisition is in today’s starting XI, taking Kenny Cooper’s place.
He’ll be part of a Sounder team that will benchmark the progress Nelsen’s squad has made in the offseason. Michael Bradley will tested by the league’s best destroyer: Osvaldo Alonso. Jermain Defoe faces one of the league’s most experienced defenders in Marshall. Dempsey, Pappa, and Obafemi Martins will be tasked with breaking through a defense led by Steven Caldwell, and should they do so, they’ll have to beat Brazilian international Júlio César.
They’re two teams looking to make big steps forward in 2014 – playoff hopefuls that kick off at 4:30 p.m. on NBCSN.
Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso; Lamar Neagle, Clint Dempsey, Marco Pappa; Obafemi Martins
Toronto FC: Júlio César; Mark Bloom, Steven Caldwell, Doneil Henry; Justin Morrow; Jackson, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Álvaro Rey; Jermain Defoe; Dwayne De Rosario