Seattle Sounders FC vs Real Salt Lake 11-03-2011 - Preview

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Seattle Sounders FC
2 - 0
Final
Real Salt Lake
MLS Playoffs
November 2, 2011
10:00pm EDT
CenturyLink Field
ESPN2

Preview: Big crowd expected as Sounders face tall order vs. RSL

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): C.J. Morgante;

4th: Jasen Anno

INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC -- OUT: GK Terry Boss (concussion); MF Michael Seamon (lateral ankle tendon); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); FW O'Brian White (leg surgery); DOUBTFUL: GK Josh Ford (knee pain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (MCL sprain); PROBABLE: MF Amadou Sanyang (knee sprain) ... REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: MF Nelson Gonz·lez (R foot fracture); DOUBTFUL: GK Kyle Reynish (R ankle bone spur); FW Cody Arnoux (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jamison Olave (R quadriceps strain), DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain); PROBABLE: DF Tony Beltran (L adductor strain), MF Ned Grabavoy (L adductor strain)

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SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS (suspended next yellow): SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Fredy Montero ... RSL: Fabian Espindola

LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: SEA 2 wins, 6 GF ... RSL 2 wins, 5 GF ... Ties 2

2011 HEAD-TO-HEAD: SEA 1 win, 3 GF ... RSL 1 win, 3 GF ... Ties 0

AT CENTURYLINK FIELD: 9/10: SEA 1, RSL 2 (Montero 45 -- own goal 12; Saborio 56)

MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: SEA 0 wins, 0 GF ... RSL 1 win, 3 GF ... Ties 0

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

  • For the fourth time in five playoff games in club history, Sounders FC were shut out on the attacking end.
  • "We're lucky we didn't lose 6-0. We were well-served by losing only 3-0. We played not well and I thought Real Salt Lake played very well," said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid. "It was a bad time for us to choose to have a bad game ... We couldn't keep the ball, we couldn't hold on to the ball. Some of that was due to their pressure, but some of it was just our bad passing."
  • Mauro Rosales was not able to figure after suffering a knee injury in the season finale against Chivas USA. Lamar Neagle was given his spot on the right of midfield. "Everybody was the wrong choice," Schmid said. "With the exception of (goalkeeper Kasey) Keller, nobody played real well."
  • Sounders FC came through the game without any major absences, though Schmid said midfielder Osvaldo Alonso should have been sent off. "That's probably one of the worst games I've seen (Osvaldo) Alonso play in his three years with us, and it just wasn't a good exhibition of soccer from us."
  • Schmid also gave a start in attack to Sammy Ochoa, his first with the club. He made four appearances -- all as a substitute -- after he was signed late in the year. "I was happy to get the start, but we didn't get the win here. We have 90 minutes to go and we have to do the best we can to come out on top," Ochoa said.
  • Sounders FC also went through the entire game without putting a single shot on target. But, they did score three goals in three of their last six regular season games, and hit for four or more goals three times this season, most in MLS.
  • "We need to score four, it's very simple. We can't allow any goals. There's no secret strategy, everybody has to play better soccer then what they played, everyone has to put in a better performance," Schmid said. "From the coaching staff to the support staff to the players, everyone has to do better than what they did because (Saturday) wasn't good enough."

REAL SALT LAKE

  • Despite rolling to a 3-0 win in the first leg in Utah, RSL head coach Jason Kreis faces a big question mark in central defense for the second leg. Jamison Olave came off with a a right quadriceps strain on a play midway through the first half, then Nat Borchers was forced off with a left quadriceps strain in the second half.
  • "One of our focuses was to keep a zero back there. We knew they had some lethal weapons up top and in the midfield and (we had) to stay compact," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "When you add a leader like Kyle Beckerman to the lineup it gives us a lot of defensive work, and he covers so much ground. He helped out a bunch, but all in all I think my job was pretty easy tonight because of the guys in front of me keeping it tight, keeping a high line and stepping to the ball."
  • Reserve Chris Schuler and starting fullback Chris Wingert finished the match in central defense for RSL. Both Borchers and Olave were part of the travel party to Seattle.
  • "We're just going to see how deep we are," Rimando said. "Hopefully it's not too bad - this is one of those times where you'd like to have a little more time in between games - but, again, if the worst happens and those guys can't go, we have guys who can do the job."
  • Making his fifth start in MLS play after returning from missing six months through injury, Javier Morales set up two goals. "I think it's taken me a long time to come back like normal, but I think tonight that I felt very, very good," Morales said. "I'm very happy about that, but more for the team. We played a very good game, and we won ñ so that is the most important thing."
  • With Morales together in the center of midfield with Kyle Beckerman for the first time since the eighth game of the league season, RSL head coach Jason Kreis could finally put out his first-choice team. "I don't think we've had that ability to pick our absolute strongest lineup since the first leg of the (CONCACAF Champions League) final at Monterrey."
  • Real won for the first time since Sept. 21, going 0-4-2 to conclude the regular season. "For me that was a complete match, and we haven't had a complete match of good soccer and good focus and the requisite commitment for a very long time," Kreis said.