On the heels of the United States' successes in World Cup Qualifying, the Sounders are on the road this week, playing at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. This will be the second time these teams have met this season. Luis Gil and Robbie Findley paved the way to victory for Real Salt Lake with first-half goals in the last meeting on March 30th.
Real Salt Lake is pursuing their third straight win on the bounce and a continuation of their five-game unbeaten run. The visiting Sounders look to continue a run of good form, going for their sixth win in their last seven matches.
The hosting Royals currently reside in third place in the Western Conference and will move into the top spot if FC Dallas manages to stumble in their match against a slightly beleaguered Sporting Kansas City this weekend. The Seattle Sounders have three games in hand on their host, thanks to Bye weeks and a slow schedule in recent weeks. If the Rave Green men from Seattle can pull out the three points on the road, they’ll move from sixth to fourth, ahead of a Vancouver Whitecaps team that is on fire.
The Sounders and their hosts will miss out on two players currently away at the U20 World Cup in Turkey. Seattle is without their young right-back DeAndre Yedlin and Real will be without Luis Gil.
Players to Watch
Eddie Johnson looks to re-establish himself in the Sounders side after his stint with the U.S. national team. With four goals in eight games, Johnson has been decent at the club level, but may face stiff competition when trying to garner his starting place. Lamar Neagle has been on fire for the Sounders, gathering four goals and three assists in the last five MLS matches. Obafemi Martins is still looking for some consistency, but has managed to score a goal in his last three appearances.
Ned Grabavoy has been a part of a dynamic Real Salt Lake midfield that has grabbed goals by the bucketful in recent matches. Devon Sandoval, Khari Stephenson, and Grabavoy have each scored three goals in the last four matches in the league. This goal scoring run has been key to the success of the Royals this season. Real have outscored their opponents 17-7 in their last seven matches in the league. Expect that total to rise significantly with the reintroduction of Kyle Beckerman and Alvaro Saborio into the squad.
Seattle Sounders (4-1-3-2): Gspurning; Traore, Scott, Evans; Carrasco; Neagle, Rose, Rosales; Johnson, Martins.
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Rimando; Beltran, Borchers, Salcedo, Wingert; Beckerman, Grabavoy, Velasquez, Morales; Plata, Findley.
(image courtesy of USA Today Sports)