The Sounders return to MLS action at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Real Salt Lake. Though the clubs are second and fourth in the MLS Western Conference, each comes in on a rare slump: three straight losses for RSL, and of course that ongoing eight-game winless streak for the Sounders.
Here’s some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say about the match today:
On not having Osvaldo Alonso available) “He’s a valuable guy on this team, but we have other players on this team, so other people have to step up and play that can play in that role.”
On getting Fredy Montero back) “We’ll see. He’s got to bring energy with him on to the field, as well. We know he brings skill and technique and all those things, but he has to bring some energy back onto the field, as well. One of the things we were pleased with in the last two games was our defensive work up front was good. It was a combination of work-we have to make sure we maintain that. Certainly Fredy’s ability to shoot from distance, his ability to score goals, and his ability to impact games at key moments is something we can always use.”
On the previous RSL match, which began the eight-game winless streak) “It was a hard loss because I thought in that particular game that we were the better team. I just watched the game again yesterday on the flight back from New England…and you’re looking at that game going, ‘How did we lose that one?’ because we played well. That hurt a little bit. If we could have pulled this one out in New England you could talk maybe about turning the corner. Right now we’re still standing at the corner. We’ve gotten to the corner, we’ve peeked around the other side, we know what it looks like. Now we have to see what we can do from there. We’ve gone up to Salt Lake before and been successful. They’ve lost three in a row, so they’re a team that’s going to be hungry. We have to get out there and we have to get something.”
Also, these notes provided by the club:
Real Salt Lake Series Notes
Sounders FC will visit Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday hoping to repeat the result of their last regular-season visit to Salt Lake when the Rave Green snapped RSL’s MLS record 29-game home unbeaten streak. The sides have met four times since, with Salt Lake winning the two regular season meetings and the teams split the Western Conference semifinals last November, with RSL advancing 3-2 on aggregate. Salt Lake took the all-time series advantage (4-3-3, including playoffs) with a road win earlier this season on May 12. Salt Lake is 6-3-0 at home this season and Seattle is 2-2-4 on the road.
Salt Lake Notables
Real Salt Lake is amidst an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak. Despite the recent struggles, the perennial power sits second in the West with 32 points (10-6-2), and is third overall in the race for the Supporters Shield. The team has played the most games in MLS (18) and has scored 28 goals (4th in MLS). RSL is second in fouls committed (230) and third in yellow card cautions (32).
Forward Alvaro Saborio leads the Salt Lake attack with seven goals (eighth in MLS) and 46 shots (19 on goal). Fabian Espindola has added six goals and three assists and U.S. international Kyle Beckerman has four goals with three assists. Javier Morales has returned from last season’s injury and has scored twice with four assists in eight starts. The backline is shored up by RSL veterans Tony Beltran (team-high 1,603 minutes played), Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers. Keeper Nick Rimando is first amongst goalkeepers with nine wins and sixth with a 1.19 goals against average.
The RSL Connection
Seattle striker Eddie Johnson and Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis played together for four seasons (2001-2004) with the Dallas Burn. Both Leo Gonzalez and Alvaro Saborio began playing for the Costa Rica National Team in 2002. Saborio played for Gonzalez’s rival club, Saprissa, for five seasons. Seattle’s Mauro Rosales and Salt Lake’s Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola are from Argentina. Sigi Schmid coached midfielder Ned Grabavoy for one season at Los Angeles (2004).