Real Salt Lake-Sounders Preview
It would appear that the Seattle Sounders are facing the perfect opponent Saturday night at home as they try to bounce back from a rare scoreless outing. Their recent results against Real Salt Lake, though, are cause for concern.
After scoring 10 goals to open the season with three straight wins, Seattle was held down in a 0-0 draw at Vancouver last week in a Cascadia Cup rivalry match. Including last season's playoffs, the Sounders (3-0-1) went 10 straight games without being shut out while averaging 2.9 goals over that stretch.
"Soccer is a game of bouncing ball and there was a couple of looks that we had ... some half-chances, touches a little heavy when normally they were clean," Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. "We got the ball into the prime assist zones a lot, so there were a lot of half-chances. ... We'll just improve on being a little sharp."
Next up is Real Salt Lake, which has been outscored 11-3 in losing its last three matches to fall to 1-3-1 on the season. RSL must now play in Seattle, where the Sounders have outscored opponents 34-9 in going 11-1-0 in their last 12 matches.
Salt Lake, however, ended a seven-game losing streak and nine-match winless stretch in Seattle with a 1-0 win last May 26 - part of RSL's three straight clean sheets against the Sounders.
"It's a home game for us, so our kind of messaging to the group is let's just play the way we do," Schmetzer said. "Let's play Sounders-style soccer, let's get on the front foot, let's be aggressive and see if that can get us a goal to unlock games."
RSL was limited to three goals in its first four matches before losing 4-2 at home to FC Dallas last week. Salt Lake played with 10 men after midfielder Damir Kreilach was shown a straight red card in the 17th minute for a head butt, but the club still manged to pull within one goal when Marco Silva scored in the 66th minute. Dallas then pushed the lead back to two just three minutes later.
Kreilach, who has scored one of RSL's five goals, will be suspended for this match. Salt Lake has been issued a league-high four red cards this season.
"I want my guys to fight, I want my guys to stand up for themselves, I want my guys to compete," RSL coach Mike Petke said. "Do I think all four red cards were justified? Do you think they were? Honestly? Be honest with me. Maybe you do. ... Do I wish we didn't have four red cards? Absolutely.
"... I've played, there is passion that goes into it. I've said it for 20 years, players aren't robots. It's not a remote control game, I wish it was."
Updated April 5, 2019