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RSL vs. Seattle Sounders: Three questions with Sounder at Heart

Let’s get ready for some chaos.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve played Seattle Sounders a lot over the years, but it’s a rare thing that we get to ask Jeremiah Oshan our questions. The Sounder at Heart manager is giving us the inside scoop on Seattle Sounders ahead of our match tonight.

1. What strengths give you confidence that Seattle will win tonight?

The Sounders’ biggest advantage, without a doubt, is playing at home. They were very good at CenturyLink Field in 2019 and have been downright unbeatable here in the playoffs, riding a nine-game winning streak that dates back to 2013. Even though the crowds aren’t any bigger than they are during the regular season, they do tend to be quite a bit louder and the team seems to feed off that energy.

Beyond that, the biggest reason I feel good about the Sounders chances is that their offense seems to be clicking. Raul Ruidiaz snapped a five-game goal-less drought in the win over FC Dallas and Jordan Morris has continued to find new ways to impress. In many ways 2019 was a breakout year for Morris in that he is no longer a one-dimensional player who can beat opponents with speed. He’s now a legitimate winger, both goal-dangerous and able to set up teammates. His three goals against Dallas all were a bit different and the last two were the type of goals he hasn’t traditionally scored, scrappy and more about desire than skill.

2. What weaknesses does Seattle have that should give RSL fans hope?

All that said, I’m still more than a little worried about this team’s ability to defend. The Sounders have the defensive talent to shut down opponents, but they’ve been far too leaky in the back to feel entirely confident with their group. The three goals they allowed to Dallas marked the 10th time in their last 15 games that they’ve given up at least two goals and it was the fourth time in seven home games that they’ve given up three. In three of those games, the Sounders managed to surrender 2-0 leads and in two of those they also surrendered the equalizer after going up 3-2. That they still managed to win all three games is certainly encouraging, but none of this is good for the heart and eventually it’s probably going to catch up with them.

3. What can RSL fans expect from Seattle that’s generally flying under the radar?

So much of this season has been played without the services of Victor Rodriguez, who has played less than 1,200 minutes all year. But he was able to play 53 minutes off the bench against Dallas and the Sounders tend to play at a much higher level when he’s on the pitch. Rodriguez might be the Sounders’ most important player when he’s healthy and if he’s able to get significant minutes against RSL, he’s going to be a handful.

Bonus: Who’s getting the start tonight?

I think there’s only going to be one big change from last week and that’s Xavier Arreaga for Kim Kee-hee, who had a rough outing. From left to right: Frei; Smith, Arreaga, Torres, Leerdam; Roldan, Svensson; Morris, Lodeiro, Jones; Ruidiaz

You can find their 3 questions for us here.