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Scouting Report: Real Salt Lake in the Emerald City

MLS: Austin FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Well, last week was crazy, and no scouting report. Sorry about that, and we’re back on track. So, besides the fact that Real Salt Lake got a very needed win (and CAPTAIN Damir came through again...) Seattle is going to be a new test. Some might say playing against those new Seattle kits is a challenge in and of itself... but, I digress.

So, what can we expect when RSL travels to the Emerald City? Well, no rain for one. So that is good. But let’s break down Seattle this season so far. First, they are number one in the league in the power rankings. They are ranked 1st, and they have no losses on the season with a 6-3-0 record. They also are number one when it comes to goal differential. And second with goals scored.

Remember Raul Ruidiaz? Yep, he has already scored 7 goals on the season. Last season Damir Kreilach scored the most goals for Real Salt Lake with 8 total. This season he has 5 and 3 assists already.

But back to Seattle. First, they typically have been using a 3-4-1-2 rotation. This is anchored by a three-player back line that has only given up four goals on the season. Yep, only four goals. RSL will have to be very good up top to score with the way that Nouhou is playing. Then you have a solid midfield and a great attack. Seattle has quality at every position, and they will go after RSL especially if the leaky backline play continues for RSL.

Look for Seattle to have possession against RSL, and to exploit set pieces, since RSL tends to struggle to defend these. The other aspect here is that Seattle is very well coached. This is not a slight against Freddy Juarez and company, just that Seattle has the edge in coaching and also in depth. This will be important, since for both clubs this is the second of three matches in a week. With Seattle facing Vancouver on Saturday, they will most likely rotate some players.

This is where things get dicey for RSL. Do they have Bobby Wood tomorrow night? When does Toni Datković show up for RSL? Does he play when he does? Will Rusnak actually play like a captain and the highest paid player on the roster? Do they rotate the back line? Who is injured? Who will be out tomorrow night? The answers to these questions will likely determine RSL’s showing tomorrow night.

Seattle is tough; they will be prepared, well-coached, and playing at home. RSL has their work cut out for them in the Emerald City, before coming back home on Saturday.