With Decision Day looming, struggling Real Salt Lake can still be happy they control their own destiny. However, Seattle Sounders would favor its form going into their last regular season match at home over Real’s. Seattle have won four of their last six matches while Real Salt Lake are winless in their last six. A draw would clinch RSL’s playoff berth, but they will face a surging Seattle squad who are desperate to make the playoffs as well.
Stefan Frei will take his usual spot as the team’s number one keeper, as he looks to make his 33rd start this campaign. Frei is among the best in the league average for goals against at 1.25. Frei has not needed to make as many saves for his team compared to other goalkeepers as he’s made the least saves among goalkeeper who have started at least 30 games. Frei will hope the defensive line continues to shut down the opposition’s opportunities so he doesn’t have too much work to do.
A member of the Seattle defense who will not be familiar among casual RSL fans is Roman Torres. The Panamanian center-back had missed all of the previous matches against Real Salt Lake while recovering from a torn ACL. Torres is still developing a chemistry with Chad Marshall, but it is a pairing that is starting to thrive. Joevin Jones and Tyrone Mears will start at the fullback positions.
The main-man in the middle of Sounders attacks will be Nicolas Lodeiro. RSL supporters will be familiar with the Uruguayan after he scored his first MLS goal when the two sides last met in August. Lodeiro has pitched in with four goals and eight assists in his 12 MLS appearances, being a big reason for Seattle’s mid-season renaissance. Seattle will be missing some other key pieces in their midfield, the most known being Clint Dempsey. The former captain of the United States men’s national team has been dealing with heart problems for the past couple of months and will miss any Seattle games remaining in 2016. With Andreas Ivanschitz also likely to miss the match through injury, Alvaro Fernandez and Herculez Gomez will look to start in the wing positions. Osvaldo Alonso will return from his suspension to sit in front of the midfield with either Cristian Roldan or Erik Friburg.
21 year old Jordan Morris will lead the line for Seattle. Morris has enjoyed a successful rookie campaign with 12 goals. Morris’ youth is apparent as he has appeared in all of the Sounders MLS matches this season starting 31 out of the 33. Paraguayan Designated Player Nelson Valdez has had a sputtering start to his MLS career, but will be the first option off the bench to partner Morris if the forward is too isolated in the attack.