A trip to Seattle will be something special for Atlanta United president Garth Lagerwey and coach Gonzalo Pineda.
The duo, which will be honored before Sunday's match against the Sounders, helped Seattle to some of its greatest accomplishments when Lagerwey was the general manager and Pineda was an assistant coach following his playing career with the squad.
Lagerwey presided over a team that made four MLS Cup final appearances — winning two — in his eight seasons in Seattle. The Sounders also became the first MLS team to win a CONCACAF Champions League title in its current format.
Pineda played on the Sounders' 2014 team that won the league's Supporters' Shield and was an assistant coach for the 2019 MLS Cup winners.
"Both of those gentlemen were involved in a lot of our success, so it's fitting (to have them back)," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said.
Both clubs are in similar situations, having had about three weeks off after being eliminated from the inaugural Leagues Cup in the group stage.
Atlanta (9-7-8, 35 points) and Seattle (10-8-6, 36 points) are both currently in playoff position in their respective conferences — Atlanta is seventh in the East and the Sounders fourth in the West — but expect more and would like to improve their playoff positioning over the final 10 matches of the regular season.
"I told (the players) the next 10 games are 10 finals, but you have to start with the first one," Pineda said. "We have to send a message that no matter where we are, home or away, we have to show the same mentality, the same aggression."
Atlanta is led by Thiago Almada, who has been bestowed with the honored No. 10 jersey by the club. Summer transfer window acquisitions Tristan Muyamba and Xande Silva could make their MLS debuts.
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, recently named the team's captain, is expected to return after missing Seattle's final Leagues Cup match with a finger injury that required surgery. Frei has a league-leading 11 shutouts and is two shy of the franchise record he set in 2017.
The all-time series between the clubs is tied at 1-1-3.
—Field Level Media