The Sounders can open a five-point gap atop the Western Conference on Saturday afternoon with a victory over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Last time out: Sounders 4, RSL 0 at CenturyLink Stadium on May 31 — Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins all got on the Seattle scoresheet as the Sounders ran away with the second half.
Battle to watch: Sounders midfield vs. RSL midfield
Seattle hasn’t faced a midfield of this quality since its 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy, one in which the Sounders surrendered control of possession for long stretches of a one-sided first half.
“I think the most important thing in soccer is to control the middle,” Sounders mid Osvaldo Alonso said.
They’ll get a chance for redemption Saturday in a game that could help Seattle solidify control of the Western Conference.
Player to watch: RSL mid Kyle Beckerman
Seattle’s biggest obstacle in winning that battle is the man who has been holding down the center of the Salt Lake pitch since 2007. Beckerman controls tempo as well as just about any player in the league, and disrupting it is key for the Sounders.
How to watch: The match will be televised live nationally on NBC Sports Network, with kickoff scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PT.