Here’s our preview story from today’s News Tribune. Here’s sort of the same topic, but handled by the Salt Lake Tribune. Here’s a good preview package from the Deseret News. And finally, a really interesting info-graphic on the series.
And the basics:
NO. 2 REAL SALT LAKE (17-11-6; 57 POINTS)
AT NO. 3 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (15-8-11; 56 POINTS)
7 p.m., CenturyLink Field.
TV: KONG 6/16 locally, Root regionally, NBCSN nationally. RADIO: 97.3 FM.
CLUB LEADERS: For Salt Lake: G 17, Alvaro Saborio; A 9, Javier Morales; S 87, Saborio; SOG 40, Saborio; GAA 1.06, Nick Rimando. For Seattle: G 14, Eddie Johnson; A 13, Mauro Rosales; S 126, Fredy Montero; SOG 46, Montero; GAA 0.73, Michael Gspurning.
HEAD TO HEAD: RSL leads in league play, 3-2-4. This season, RSL went 1-0-2, with a 1-0 win May 12 in Seattle followed by a pair of scoreless draws home and away. Last season, RSL took a 3-2 aggregate score victory from the Sounders in the first round of the playoffs.
NOTES: This is the first of a two-game, aggregate-score series. The winner will be determined by the combined scores of the home and away matches. If goals are even at the end of the second match, there will be 30 minutes of added time. If the tie remains, the series will be determined by penalty kicks. Road goals have no special status. … Seattle is 0-3 in playoff series and 0-2-1 in opening matches. … This is Salt Lake’s fifth straight playoff appearance, the longest ongoing streak in MLS. Seattle and Los Angeles are the only others to make the playoffs the last four seasons. … Gspurning led MLS in goals-against average. Rimando was fourth. … Seattle ended its regular season with a 1-0 loss at Los Angeles. The club hasn’t lost back-to-back games in 66 matches, the longest stretch in league history. … Only the lower stadium bowl will be open, creating a capacity of about 35,000 seats. Tickets remain available. … For the first time, some NFL field markings will be on the pitch tonight, in preparation for the Seahawks game at CenturyLink on Sunday. … The referee is Hilario Grajeda.
QUOTABLE: “It’s something new for me. In Europe, we don’t have playoffs; so normally the season, you know when it’s over. This is something different. All is coming down to the playoffs. It’s like you start a new season. I’m very excited.” — Gspurning
NEXT: The series will resolve at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.