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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders

RSL wrap up their three game week with a home match against the Sounders

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders FC Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake are back at home and they host a very good Seattle Sounders team. RSL have out-scored Seattle 40 to 36 throughout this season, but Seattle have let in just 19 goals compared to RSL’s 35. The Sounders have the best points per game in the west at an impressive 1.96 PPG. Seattle are coming off a midweek Leagues Cup game, which gives the teams equal footing on the tiredness front.

Breaking down the defense

It was Real Salt Lake’s attacking prowess that won them their last game. In that 7 goal scoring-fest, RSL let in 3 goals but scoring 4 times on the road isn’t something that often happens. Yet the team found a way to fight through and it payed off. Now they’re facing the best defense in the league. Rubin is looking more like his early season form and Albert Rusnak has fully silenced the questions we had around in at the start of the season. Wood remains injured, but the depth of the team is helping to make up for his absence.

Pablo Mastroeni said they’re hoping to pull Seattle’s defense wide in order to create space, specifically for headers. That is one good option, but the team will need a few more tricks up their sleeve if they hope to take down the Sounders.

A thin defense gets thinner

On this week’s injury report, all but one player are defensive. Aaron Herrera out is the biggest loss, but with Brody also injured (though being upgraded to “questionable” is good) means the team is still thin around outside backs. Marcelo Silva is also injured, and while the team has gotten by without those three players, it doesn’t leave a lot of options. With Herrera out, we’re likely to see an unfamiliar pairing with the outside backs.

The return of Freddy

During media availability this week, both Justin Meram and David Ochoa said they don’t have any ill will towards Freddy Juarez and his decision to leave the club. Ochoa spoke very highly of the former RSL head coach. The impression was that it won’t be strange to be facing off against a coaching staff that includes Juarez, but some players or even fans may feel differently.

Injury report

Questionable: Noah Powder, Andrew Brody, Zac MacMath, Aaron Herrera
Out: Zack Farnsworth, Bobby Wood, Marcelo Silva

Predicted lineup