Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs REAL SALT LAKE
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
Sept. 12, 2014 (WEEK 27, MLS Game #256)
7:30 p.m. PT (NBCSN; TSN2)
One of the biggest matches of the season in the Western Conference is ahead on Friday evening as Seattle Sounders FC play host to Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field before an NBC Sports Network audience. The teams come into the game separated by five points, with Sounders FC holding the top spot in the division and the overall table after their 4-2 win at Chivas USA nine days ago. Real hit the road again following a 2-1 win against FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Baboucarr Jallow; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 255 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 61; pens: 63
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Zach Scott … RSL: Javier Morales, Chris Schuler
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Brad Evans, Obafemi Martins, DeAndre Yedlin … RSL: Olmes Garcia, Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Luke Mulholland, Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: SEA: Marco Pappa (Guatemala, Copa Centroamericana)
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Sounders FC 4 wins, 15 goals … Real 6 wins, 13 goals … Ties 4
AT SEATTLE (7 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 9 goals … Real 2 wins, 3 goals … Ties 2
5/31: SEA 4, RSL 0 (Pineda 42; Pappa 55; Barrett 62; Martins 90)
8/16: RSL 2, SEA 1 (Plata 53; Mulholland 57 – Barrett 72)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Second-half goals by Luke Mulholland and Joao Plata led RSL to a 2-1 win Aug. 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium; Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins all scored as Sounders FC rolled to a 4-0 win May 31 at CenturyLink Field.
- RSL have been shut out on their last four trips to Seattle in all competitions; they last scored at CenturyLink Field on May 12, 2012. Sounders FC last won in league play at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 28, 2011, a span of four games.
- The teams also met in the MLS Cup Playoffs in both 2011 and 2012, Real advancing 3-2 on aggregate in 2011, and Sounders FC winning the series 1-0 in 2012.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. RSL: P20 W7 L8 T5 … Jeff Cassar vs. SEA: P2 W1 L1 T0
- Real took the lead in the 53rd minute. From a free kick on the right flank near the touchline, Luke Mulholland whipped in the service to the back post where 5-foot-2 forward Joao Plata got behind a defender and headed the ball in past Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
- The lead was doubled just four minutes later. Luis Gil passed the ball to a streaking Mulholland cutting into the Seattle box, and he poked the ball inside the left post just ahead of Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who had originally appeared to put the ball into his own goal.
- Sounders FC pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute when RSL defenders Chris Schuler and Chris Wingert miscommunicated on a clearance and the ball fell to Seattle's Clint Dempsey. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando saved Dempsey's point-blank shot, and Andy Rose hit the post on the first rebound before Barrett cleaned up the chance to pull the deficit back to 2-1.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Carlos Salcedo 89) - Luke Mulholland, Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Luis Gil - Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley 60), Joao Plata (Cole Grossman 80).
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Leo Gonzalez (Aaron Kovar 88) - Brad Evans (Andy Rose 46), Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 62) - Kenny Cooper, Clint Dempsey.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC return to action after a weekend off, stretching their winning streak to three matches last time out, a 4-2 win against Chivas USA on Sept. 3 at StubHub Center. Sounders FC are in first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 51 points from 26 games.
- Sounders FC broke open the game early. In the 11th minute, Chad Marshall headed a corner kick toward goal and it fell right to Obafemi Martins, who turned it home from close range for the opener. Five minutes later, Clint Dempsey freed Lamar Neagle and Martins all alone behind the Chivas backline, and Neagle slid it to Martins to finish into an empty net for his and Seattle's second.
- The lead hit 4-0, both scored by Andy Rose on set-piece deliveries from Brad Evans in virtually identical scenarios. The first came in the 38th minute when Rose tracked down Evans’ cross near the back post on the right and beat goalkeeper Dan Kennedy with a volley . Rose struck again six minutes later, this time with a header from the heart of the area from an Evans free-kick service.
- Chivas USA put an end to their long scoreless streak in the 51st minute when Marco Delgado finished an Eric Avila lob into the area with a header past Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei. It was Chivas USA’s first goal since July 20, snapping their goalless streak at 597 consecutive minutes.
- Chivas scored a second nine minutes later, when Ryan Finley converted his own penalty after being brought down by Sounders FC center back Zach Scott.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 at CenturyLink Field. Andy Rose came into the midfield in place of Gonzalo Pineda.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Leo Gonzalez - Brad Evans, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 66) - Clint Dempsey (Gonzalo Pineda 87), Obafemi Martins (Micheal Azira 76).
- Sounders FC have won three games in a row, their third winning streak this season of three games or more. They also scored a season-high four goals for a fourth time this season, the second time in the last three games.
- “It’s great to go in with three straight wins because everyone was concerned that we were in a dive or something at that point, and I said ‘this isn’t last year, it’s a different year,’” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “… When we start off again with Real Salt Lake when we have five games in 16 days and those games are going to be in four different cities. That’s going to be a good stretch.”
- Sounders FC scored three goals from set pieces and now have 13 goals from dead-ball situations this season, leading MLS. They have scored seven goals from free kicks, second in the league to FC Dallas (9).
- “To be able to get three goals off of set pieces, it says a lot about determination,” Brad Evans said. “The center back has got to run 40 yards every time we get a free kick and be willing to fight and scrap and make good runs.”
- Obafemi Martins scored a pair of goals in the win at Chivas USA, and now has four goals and three assists over the last four games.
- Andy Rose scored a pair of goals in the game, his first career multiple-goal game and doubling his career goal output over his first three seasons in one night. Rose had one goal in each of his first two MLS years.
- “Sometimes everyone gets hung up because he scored two goals so that means he played well,” Schmid said. “I don’t think he played well because he got the two goals, I think he played well in the first half, I thought he was sharp, I thought he turned, collected the ball, looked forward, he was a guy hitting a lot of our passes into our forwards and putting guys in. The icing on the cake was that he scores a good header and he gets in on the back post, as well. I was very pleased with Andy.”
- Evans set up three goals on the night, his single-game career-high for assists and the second multiple-assist game of his MLS career. Evans has five assists this season, matching his single-season career-high (set in 2011 and 2013).
- “I kind of worked on set pieces a little bit, and I knew that [Gonzalo Pineda] wasn’t starting so Sigi [Schmid] had a chat with me after training and how I’m going to line up when I’m serving the ball from different positions,” Evans said. “I tried to take that into account and I think that Chad [Barrett] and Clint [Dempsey] are all calling attention in the box and Zack [Scott] as well, and I think that Andy, as he showed in the Open Cup as well, that he’s able to get his head on pretty much anything. First one with his foot, second one with his head. He snuck in and if you have decent service, the guys on our team are going to get on the end of it.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake returned home and won for a third straight game in their own ground, defeating FC Dallas 2-1 on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in third place in the Western Conference with 46 points from 27 matches.
- Real took the lead in the 31st minute. A shot by RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland rebounded and fell at Robbie Findley's feet – and he buried it in the net to FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez's right.
- The visitors drew level just after the hour. After FCD's Tesho Akindele was fouled just outside the box, Michel stepped up and hit a deadly strike through a crowd of bodies that RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando had no chance to reach.
- But lightning struck 15 minutes later. Alvaro Saborio, out injured for almost four months, had barely finished jogging onto the field as a substitute to huge cheers when he headed home a corner kick from teammate Javier Morales for the winning goal.
- RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made two changes to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Chris Wingert came back into the back four for Abdoulie Mansally, and Robbie Findley started up top with Joao Plata on international duty.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil 76), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Robbie Findley (Sebastian Jaime 67), Olmes Garcia (Alvaro Saborio 76).
- Real Salt Lake rebounded following a loss and a tie on their road swing, winning a third consecutive game at Rio Tinto Stadium and extending their home undefeated streak to seven games.
- “The Supporters’ Shield is going to happen by us taking care of business. We have a huge game coming up against Seattle. I think if we get a really good result there we can start putting ourselves into the mix for that,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “But I really want to keep these guys focused on one game at a time, taking care of business, and not trying to look too far ahead.”
- Making his first appearance since May 11, coming on as a 76th-minute substitute, Álvaro Saborío scored with on literally his first touch, heading home a corner kick for the game-winning goal.
- “We saw the fastest red card [Friday] night in the L.A.-Colorado game and I think this might be the fastest goal going in,” said Cassar. “Fantastic service by Javier [Morales]. Aggressive run and fantastic finish by Sabo. It’s an area that we’ve been concentrating a little bit on with our coaching staff, and hats off to the players for executing it.”
- It was the 43rd time in MLS history a substitute had scored a goal in the same minute when he entered, or within one minute of having entered the game. Saborío officially entered the game in the 76th minute, and the goal was credited in the 77th minute. Officially, the span between his entrance and scoring the goal was 22 seconds, the quickest span between coming onto the field and scoring since the exact timing has been available (the 2001 season).
- “I've never seen anything like that,” Robbie Findley said. “It just happens that way sometimes, you know what I mean? I was happy and the whole team was happy.”
- Javier Morales collected his 10th assist with the game-winning service, his second consecutive season with double-digits in assists and his third in eight MLS campaigns.
- “It was on my mind you know. That guy is going to score now? And then I send the ball. It’s kind of funny,” said Morales. “I am happy for him because I think he deserved the goal. It’s always better when Sabo is in the box. I know that is where in the box he likes it. I try to put the ball there but it’s all about him – he finds the ball there. I think he scored a great goal.”
- Robbie Findley scored his first goal of the season, his first in a regular season league game since Aug. 17, 2013 when he scored at the LA Galaxy.
- “He’s been sniffing around it now. This was arguably one of his best weeks of training – scoring a lot in practice, which is great,” said Cassar. “I thought him and Olmes [Garcia] really worked hard, the first half especially. We wore them down and that allows us to make a move and bring somebody on to finish it out.”
- Said Findley: “It’s been tough coming back from the surgery in December. Been working hard and staying at it. A couple of weeks I hit the post, and the crossbar another weekend, so it was coming. I’m trying to stay positive. Thankfully enough it fell into my feet. I just tried to focus on taking a good touch and putting it in there.”
- New signing Sebastian Jaime also made his RSL and MLS debut, coming on as a substitute at the three-quarter mark in place of Findley.
- Said Cassar: “It’s good to see him on the big field. He’s an extremely intelligent player, he makes great runs. I think when he has more space to operate in he’s going to be more effective. It seemed like him and Sabo [Saborio] had a nice relationship in a brief time, and that’s promising.
- “Everyone’s getting healthier, so teams will have to figure out what kind of lineup we’re going to put out and deal with us that way. We’ve got several different combinations of forwards we can go with, we’ve got different combinations in the midfield and in the back line we can move players around and put Mansally [at left back] and add something new. So I think everything’s looking good,” Cassar added.