Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders meet today as a budding rivalry continues to grow, but both sides will be looking to come to life in the early days of the season. RSL is sitting with one win, while Sounders have yet to win.
It may be further complicated by the fact that Seattle plays against Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions League play. During the early days of the season, while some players are perhaps searching for fitness, that may force Seattle coach Sigi Schmid into making decisions about which competition holds the highest allure.
Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake coach, said he's not entirely sure why goals have been scarce when his side plays against Seattle Sounders. A grand total of two goals were scored between the two sides in 2012 — in both regular season and playoff action.
"I think that both teams have a very clear definition or idea of how they want to defend," Kreis said. "I think that both teams are very committed in that all the players on the field are willing to do that for each other. Both teams are typically hard to break down. But I also think that both teams are typically pretty good in the attacking end of the field. It's a little bit of an enigma why in the last year and a half we haven't scored goals against each other."
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said the growing rivalry with Sounders sprung from the two teams meeting repeatedly over the past two years and playing ostensibly good soccer.
"Every time we play a team that's coached be Sigi Schmid, it's going to be an organized team, it's going to be a team that he feels can win," Beckerman said. "It seems like we do have a rivalry with this team now because of how many important games we've played against them. Last year and the year before it seemed like we played them every other week ... then, playoff time, it's like, 'Of course we're playing Seattle again.' It's a good healthy rivalry, one that's formed because we're both playing some good soccer. It's good for both clubs and it'll continue tomorrow night."
Alvaro Saborio may miss out through knee swelling, but Kreis said he's not ruled out the Costa Rican striker yet.
"We've had it before where he didn't train the day before the game and played the game and played very well, so it's touch and go still," he said.
Despite returning to training, Chris Wingert is still at least two weeks out from even remote consideration, Kreis said. Other absences include Carlos Salcedo and Cole Grossman, both out with concussions (the former sustained during the reserves match against Colorado, the latter sustained against FC Dallas), David Viana, out with a quad strain, and Yordany Alvarez, suspended after receiving a red card against FC Dallas.