Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, May 20th – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)
Match Odds: Seattle 4/9 – Draw 16/5 – RSL 11/2
Seattle Sounders welcome Real Salt Lake to CenturyLink Field on Saturday as 10th in West hosts 9th in the West, with both sides needing to improve on slow starts to the season.
Seattle come into the game off the back of three-straight defeats following Wednesday’s 3-0 loss at Sporting KC. Brian Schmetzer’s side have only scored once in their last three and must get back to winning ways here to prevent panic setting in.
The Sounders currently look a shadow of the side that clinched the MLS Cup title back in December but the season is still young, and Seattle fans won’t need reminding of what a late-season surge can do for your chances of success in the latter stages of the campaign.
CenturyLink Field is usually a fortress for Seattle, but they have only won one of their four home games so far this term, losing 1-0 to Toronto in their most recent home tie and must improve on all fronts from here on out.
Real Salt Lake come into the weekend after picking up a desperately needed win at home to NYCFC on Wednesday. That 2-1 victory ended a run of four-straight defeats and should lift the mood around the club.
RSL have really struggled away from home this term though, winning just one of their six road games and conceding 14 goals in that time. Their recent record in Seattle will do little to inspire confidence either, given the fact they’ve lost six in a row at Seattle.
A win for either side would fire them back into contention in the congested Western Conference at this stage, but a defeat would leave alarm bells ringing as both teams are better than their record suggest.
Seattle are set to remain with Henry Wingo and Roman Torres, while Aaron Kovar and Osvaldo Alonso are still doubts. Joevin Jones will return after missing Wednesday’s game through suspension, while Dempsey is expected to return to the starting lineup.
Real Salt Lake are still without Chad Barrett and David Horst, while they have doubts hanging over Jordan Allen, Tony Beltran and Demar Phillips.
Seattle Sounders’ form: W/D/L/L/L
Real Salt Lake’s form: L/L/L/L/W
Key Stat: Seattle have beaten RSL in six consecutive MLS games at CenturyLink Field, outscoring them 16-5 in that stretch.
Key Player: Clint Dempsey – If anyone is going to pull the Sounders out of this rut, you’d expect it to be Clint Dempsey. He leads the team with four goals this season but has only netted once at home so far this season so he’ll be desperate to lead the home side to three vital points here.
Seattle Sounders 3-2 Real Salt Lake – Both sides are poor defensively at the moment and that could lead to a high-scoring affair on Saturday evening. Real Salt Lake’s terrible record at Seattle has to be taken into account and despite winning on Wednesday, they are likely to come up short against a Sounders team that have to win this game to calm nerves.