Sounders FC (13-5-9) vs. Real Salt Lake (12-7-6)
Saturday, September 10, 1 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV/radio: KING-5 TV, KIRO-FM 97.3 AM (Arlo White, Erin Mayovsky)
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
KEY REAL SALT LAKE PLAYERS
D Jamison Olave — The two-time MLS All-Star and reigning MLS Defender of the Year is quite intimidating at 6-3, 210. He’s such a cult favorite that RSL fans have been using “Olave” as a verb, as is “you’ve been Olave’d.” He’ll probably be motivated after being ejected in the first meeting when Mike Fucito got the best of him.
GK Nick Rimando — Even Hope Solo is excited to watch this dynamic goalkeeper in action Saturday. Has played a team-high 2,160 minutes and his 0.88 goals-against average is the best of all regular starters in the league. Eleven shutouts and 72% save percentage are very good as well.
F Alvaro Saborio — Maybe hasn’t had the year everyone might’ve hoped for, but seven goals in 15 games is pretty solid. Only one of the Costa Rican’s goals have come on the road this season and he’ll face a defense that’s been in solid form recently.
Fredy Montero vs. Nat Borchers — This is a big game between Western Conference foes and Seattle could use a late hot-streak from its DP forward. He should be confident coming off the winner against Dallas in the Open Cup and Borchers, who is a normally steady veteran, has been a little mistake-prone this season.
Mauro Rosales vs. Robbie Russell — With Steve Zakuani out, the Sounders FC midfielder has taking over the role as the nightmare for outside backs. I’m guessing Russell gets the start, though he is questionable with back spasms. Whoever it is will be in for a long day. Another standout performance for Rosales could solidify his MVP candidacy.
Seattle’s hot streak vs. down time — We all know and remember how good August was (7-0-1 overall, 3-0-1 in MLS) but this is a new month, a tough opponent and the Sounders haven’t played a league game in two weeks. Will the form carry over into September after coming back from a five-game break?
RSL boasts the best defense in the league with just 21 goals allowed and has won two straight. Another win would keep alive a top-three finish in the West, but a loss would make a wildcard berth a more real possibility.
I think the visitors will be deliberate and conservative, maybe try to sneak a counterattack here or there and play more some set pieces. There’s certainly enough talent in the back for RSL to make things difficult for Seattle’s attack and I’m not sure I see any breakthroughs in this one.
I won’t be rooting for this score, but here we go…
Sounders FC 0, Real Salt Lake 0
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Not a very exciting pick, I’ll admit, but how do you see it playing out?