The front three for the Sounders looks different than the one that RSL has faced in the past. With the departure of Obafemi Martins and the addition of Morris, RSL will have to be in top form to stop the chances from coming. But here are the most important things to watch for this weekend.
1. Defensive shape
We all remember vividly the nightmarish end to what would have been, a great game in Orlando. With that memory firmly implanted in our head, the big question is, what will Real Salt Lake’s defensive shape look like for the dynamic front three of Seattle?
Injuries can make the defensive shape for RSL but, the main thing that RSL needs to do is keep all 11 men on the field. With Phillip's Red card in the 20th minute of Sunday's game, the obvious choice as the starter is, Chris Wingert. He will bring veteran experience to that position and make the opposition work for every yard earned.
With Wingert solidifying the left back position, the midfield third is still a BIG question. With Sunny and Beckerman both in the game, will the defensive shape for RSL midfield dictate to have Beckerman stay anchored right in front of the center backs and be a destroyer in that position while facilitating Sunny and Javier Morales to create chances down the field? If Beckerman stays as a defensive midfield, will the formation change to a 4-1-2-3 or will Sunny play the box to box style of play that we have all been waiting to see from him?
2. Fitness level
RSL has had a very busy preseason with CONCACAF Champions League and training for preseason. After Traveling down to Mexico to play and back to Salt Lake City. Then, having a short week last week traveling down to Orlando seems to take a toll on the team.
After having a few days at home, will the fitness level be a factor for Real Salt Lake? Every team that comes and plays at Rio Tinto has to deal with playing in altitude, something that RSL has learned acclimate to. But fitness levels be low for most of our starters who will be playing their third game in just 10 days. This could affect who starts and who gets subbed in.
3. Javi's bounce back game
Last week was not a bad game for Javier Morales, but it was not the Javi that we are used to seeing. We were amazed with the Burrito Martinez's skill on the ball and that made up for that. If Morales recovers from a rib injury, playing in front of home fans for the first time in the season might be what brings back the magic touch that we long to see.
If Beckerman is anchored to our backline, this will free up Sunny in the middle of the field and attract Seattle's defense to that can free up some space for Javi and Burrito to combine and create goal-scoring opportunities for Joao Plata and Yura Movsisyan. Hack-a-Javi seems to be a trend with teams facing RSL and it could be taking its toll but, with the additions of Burrito and Sunny, will this take the pressure off of Javi and let him create the goal scoring opportunities that the team needs? Only time will tell.
The biggest thing to watch for is if RSL can keep 10 men on the field. Last season alone, Real Salt Lake had a season total of 9 Red Cards in the 2015 Season alone. It has even been a struggle to keep the coach on the sidelines at times. Hopefully, RSL has turned a corner and is able to get back to a contention team that we are all longing to see.