Sounders Head to Salt Lake City

Jordan Morris for Sounders

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The first weekend of MLS fixtures didn’t disappoint. Teams combined for a record 34 goals, and this weekend should hopefully offer more of the same. The matchup we’re going to be focusing on is Seattle’s clash with Real Salt Lake in Utah. Neither of these teams managed to win on opening day, but RSL at least managed a draw. With the season still young, who can kickstart a winning run this weekend between two Western Conference powers?

Last weekend, Seattle got off to a promising start against Sporting KC with their attack coming close to finding the back of the net several times. This bright start was derailed by Oniel Fisher’s red card to close out the first half. While the Sounders ended up losing the match 1-0, fans should take heart in the fact their defense managed to hold a potent Kansas City attack scoreless while down a man. Chad Marshall, Brad Evans and Joevin Jones will likely anchor Seattle’s defense again on Saturday, and they should find things easier with a full complement of support.

The attacking trio of Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez didn’t really get a full chance to influence last weekend’s game due to the red card. In the time before the sending off, however, the three strikers showed promise and could’ve given their side the lead a couple times in the opening half. Barring another sending off, the Sounders’ attack will have a full 90 minutes to express themselves in the final third against a RSL defense that apparently has trouble closing out matches. While the club still hasn’t fully adjusted to the departure of Obafemi Martins to China, look for an improved attacking performance at Rio Tinto with at least one of the three strikers finding the back of the net.

It’s hard to think of a more heartbreaking way to draw a game than what happened to RSL last weekend. Jeff Cassar’s side had seemingly sealed a convincing 2-0 victory in Orlando, but somehow gave up two goals in stoppage time to throw two points down the drain. In my opinion, this collapse can be contributed to a lack of composure from the squad. Granted, it is still just the start of the season and teams are still getting used to the competitiveness of a competitive atmosphere, but it’s still disappointing to choke like that. Seattle’s attack has a lot more weapons than Orlando’s and they will apply more pressure throughout the match. Will Salt Lake be able to handle it?

One player that stood out for RSL this weekend was their diminutive striker Joao Plata. The Ecuadorian scored both of his side’s goal in their disappointing draw with Orlando, and looked like one of the liveliest players on the pitch throughout the match. His speed and nose for goal could prove to be a big problem for Seattle’s backline, and at the very least he will force the Sounders to keep an eye on him. While I don’t think he will be able to emulate his two-goal performance, I do think that he will play a pivotal role for Salt Lake.

I’m going to stick by preseason predictions and say that Seattle takes the win on Saturday. Their impressive form before being reduced to ten men shows the potential they have, and I think that Saturday’s match will be a breakout one for the side. Final score: Real Salt Lake 1-2 Seattle

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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