SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 29: Alvaro Saborio #15 and Fabian Espindola #7 of Real Salt Lake celebrate Saborio's second goal against the Seattle Sounders during the second half of an MLS play-off 1st leg soccer game October 29, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake won the game taking a 3-0 lead into the second game. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
OK, not going to do the live blog thing as I want to be able to watch as much of the match as possible so I will try to do a couple updates during the match, and then you can add anything you want in the comment section.
Real Salt Lake Starting XI:
Seattle Sounders Starting XI:
The weather is chilly and rainy in Seattle but we are about 30 minutes away from kick off, so get ready with the Sporting KC vs Colorado match as good as over SKC is up 2-0 in the match and 4-0 in the series, so turn the TV to ESPN2 and let's enjoy the match. This should be one of the best matches of the playoffs and we know that Seattle is going to have to play wide open from the first whistle, which should open the door for RSL to counter and perhaps get a quick early goal.
OFF MY SOAPBOX (updates after the jump:
First 15 minutes could be the key to the match, RSL have scored 8 in the first 15 and given up just 5, while Seattle have scored 7 and given up 5.
Nick Rimando with a 2nd minute save, nothing we haven't seen before. Really, the Sounders are going down on every bit of contact already, could be a very long night, sorry haven't seen a hard challenge yet. This match is already chippy, could be interesting to see how Jair calls the match tonight, so far it has been called fairly tight. The long throw in could be why James Riley is out of this match and Zach Scott is in, those things are dangerous.
Wow, RSL dodged their first bullet of the night as poor coverage on a set piece but Montero misses the net as the shot goes wide. Sounders are applying a lot of pressure early, expected nothing less from them. Yeah this is going to be nasty as every Sounder is going down on any contact at all, doesn't look like many of them want to play soccer tonight. It is a huge loss for the Sounders with Fernandez going off early with a hamstring injury, that takes a bet of energy off the pitch as the first 15 have been sloppy by both teams.
RSL need to get some possession only 31% after 20 minutes. Wow a second sub for Seattle as Brad Evans is out and Roger Levesque is on, I can hear the cries now that RSL is a dirty team, blah, blah, blah.
Well the match has been ugly as RSL has been forced into almost all defense by the Sounders attack, but we expected a lot of that. The score is 0-0 but Seattle has dominated every aspect of the game:
Seattle 15 shots to RSL's 1, 4 shots on goal for Seattle and none for RSL. 10 fouls for RSL, 5 for Seattle. 10 corner kicks for Seattle, just 1 for RSL.
62.5% of possession for Seattle with 65% accuracy on 215 passes, 37.5% possession for RSL with just 59% accuracy on their 135 passes.
No cards to either team, but there could be at least 1 or 2 for each side to be honest but so far Jair is letting a lot go. I think the two injury subs will be huge as the match moves forward, remember that if the Sounders can some way get 3 goals without RSL scoring it would move the match to extra time. I have a feeling this one is going to get more interesting as the minutes pass.
2-0 final (3-2 on aggregate):
That was far closer than I cared for, Seattle was clearly the better team, but in the end it wasn't enough and RSL will move on to face either New York or LA. I still say the Sounders had a great year and it was a damn shame that again the 2nd best team in the league had to play the 3rd best team in the league in the first round of the playoffs.
Two plays were the difference of the series for me, the Ned Grabavoy goal in the first game and Tony Beltran's clearance off the line. RSL did a horrible job of clearing the ball, and had no possession and I blame that on our midfielders.