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Match preview: Real Salt Lake faces unbeaten Seattle Sounders

RSL will hope to hand Seattle their first loss of the season when they face off at Lumen Field on Wednesday.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

After an exciting end in Real Salt Lake’s 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, they set out on the road to take on the league’s current best team, the Seattle Sounders. Seattle has yet to lose a game this season, going 6-0-3 through their first nine matches, with striker Raul Ruidiaz leading the way with seven goals and one assist. RSL will hope to take the momentum they found in their last game and use it to hand Seattle their first loss on the season.

I’ll be honest — history doesn’t favor RSL in this match-up even a little bit. Seattle has won 10 of the last 11 games at home against Real Salt Lake, while only allowing two goals through their last five meetings at Lumen Field. The last time they met, Seattle took all three points with a 2-1 victory at home in October, thanks to goals from Jordan Morris and Yeimar Gomez. RSL’s lone goal came at the expense of Seattle defender Nouhou Tolo who knocked in an own goal for the visitors.

2021 is a brand new season, though, and Real Salt Lake is showing a lot of promise, going unbeaten in their last four. They’ve only managed to lose one game all season long, keeping pace with the teams above the red line as the season marches on. Damir Kreilach has been playing some of his best soccer, leading the team with five goals after bagging a brace against Vancouver last week.

This midweek game will be quite the test, as RSL has only played two games away from home so far this season, winning the season opener on the road against Minnesota, while drawing against FC Dallas in Texas just a month ago. They haven’t faced a team as solid as the Sounders yet, and to ask them to come up with a win against them on the road, nonetheless, is a pretty tall order.

Where RSL does have an advantage is their current roster availability. Real Salt Lake officially has nobody on their injury report, meaning we could even possibly see Bobby Wood hit the field this week. He didn’t feature in the 18 against Vancouver, the club citing he was still working his way back to full fitness. With the road game on Wednesday, and then back home against Houston on Saturday, expect some rotation from Freddy Juarez to account for tired legs with the quick turnaround.

The Sounders have a slew of players missing, including star forward Jordan Morris who tore his ACL in February while on loan at Swansea City. He already missed the entire 2018 season due to an ACL tear, and it’s likely that he’ll miss the entire 2021 season at this point as well. On top of that, Seattle will be without Jordy Delem (ACL), Stefan Frei (knee), Nicolas Lodeiro (knee), Nouhou Tolo (adductor), and Xavier Arreaga (international duty). Despite missing several of these players throughout most of the season already, Seattle has still managed to put together a comprehensive attack with the likes of Joao Paulo and Raul Ruidiaz.

RSL will hope to escape with at least a point so they can keep their unbeaten run going and focus on getting the full three points back at home against Houston this weekend.

Match info

When: Wednesday, June 23, 8:00p.m. MT

Where: Lumen Field — Seattle, WA

Weather: 75 degrees, clear

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming), ESPN700 (radio)