Preview: RSL stand in way of Seattle's first playoff series win

REAL SALT LAKE v SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Thurs., Nov. 8, Rio Tinto Stadium
(8 p.m. MT; NBC SN; KONG; ROOT-NW; TSN2; RDS2; UDN)

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REFEREE: Chris Penso.
AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Kermit Quisenberry;
4th: Drew Fischer

INJURY REPORT:

REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist fracture); PROBABLE: DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe (R ankle bruise); DF Jamison Olave (L hamstring strain); DF Chris Schuler (R quad strain); DF Nat Borchers (L quad strain); MF Ned Grabavoy (R quad strain); FW Fabian Espindola (R hamstring strain)

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC -- OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL surgery); DF Andrew Duran (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Leo Gonzalez (R hamstring strain); DF Patrick Ianni (R calf strain); PROBABLE: FW Eddie Johnson (L adductor strain)

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS (suspended next yellow card): RSL: Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales ... SEA: Brad Evans, Jeff Parke

LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD:
SEA 2 wins, 7 GF … RSL 3 wins, 7 GF … Ties 4

2012 HEAD-TO-HEAD: SEA 0 wins, 0 GF … RSL 1 win, 1 GF … Ties 2

AT RIO TINTO STADIUM: 7/4: RSL 0, SEA 0

MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: SEA 1 win, 2 GF … RSL 1 win, 3 GF … Ties 1

REAL SALT LAKE

  • Over all competitions, Real Salt Lake have now gone four complete matches since scoring a goal. Their last goal of any sort came in the 28th minute of their 2-1 win at LA on Oct. 6.
  • “How am I going to be concerned when we walked away with a 0-0 draw in an unbelievably difficult place to play against an unbelievably difficult team to play against?” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. Said striker Álvaro Saborío: “We didn’t score, but we have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we think that we can score goals. We have to be more patient in front of the goal.”
  • It was their third consecutive scoreless draw, after ending the regular season with back-to-back 0-0 results. “We’re creating chances, and we feel that we have the guys up top who can score goals," said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "They’re a good team, so it’s going to be hard to break them down, which is what we’re trying to do. It’s a tight affair.”
  • Nick Rimando recorded his 10th career postseason shutout, third on the all-time list. Five of those have come with RSL. “It would have to go down as one of the single best performances by any player that’s ever worn an RSL jersey,” said Kreis. Added central defender Nat Borchers: “The saves he made tonight -- we’ve seen them all before, but I think everybody else kind of caught their breath.”
  • Dealing with a hamstring ailment, Fabian Espíndola was taken off at halftime in favor of Paulo Junior. Espíndola scored both goals in the 2-1 win at LA when RSL last found the back of the net. “I was trying to push to my limits – I wanted to play,” Espíndola said. “But I was trying to be smart, so that I would be ready for the next game.”
  • With Jamison Olave also suffering from a hamstring strain, Kwame Watson-Siriboe was given the start in central defense. But Olave came on for Watson-Siriboe to start the second half.
  • "It was my ideal plan to try to get Olave into the game to see if we can get ready for next week," said Kreis. "But we were forced into that sub because Kwame Watson-Siriboe rolled his ankle and he was limping around and that's not the game you want to be limping around in."

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

  • Sounders FC have now gone four consecutive games -- and five of the last six, dating back to last year's playoffs -- without scoring against Real Salt Lake.
  • "We've been a pretty good goal-scoring team over the last two years, and we just need to know that it's a mutually exclusive event," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "The next game is mutually exclusive from this game and just because we didn't get a goal in this game means nothing in regards to the next game. We could pop free for two or three."
  • Sounders FC have also been blanked on the offensive end in six of seven playoff games in the club’s history. The only time they’ve scored in a postseason match came in last year’s second leg vs. Real Salt Lake, a 2-0 win in Seattle.
  • "We don't have much space in this kind of game. Two similar teams with similar kind of players and it's tough to play each other with two tough teams in the league," said Mauro Rosales. " ... Today, we came out with good mentality and good character and it's something we have to keep."
  • Sounders FC have been shut out in four of their last six games against MLS competition. "These playoff games are about whoever puts it away is going to go through. We just have to hope next game we finish our chances because we might just have one and that one may be the difference," said Sammy Ochoa.
  • With Eddie Johnson sidelined because of a hamstring strain, David Estrada was given the start in attack alongside Fredy Montero. "When you're creating chances, that's the object of the game at the end of the day. Obviously, finishing that is the quality," said Schmid. "Could Eddie Johnson have made a difference? Possibly -- I'd be more concerned if we weren't creating chances."
  • Making his MLS Cup Playoffs debut, Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made four saves. "He was solid," Schmid said. "That's the hardest thing for a goalkeeper to do, when you're not constantly under pressure to be able to then get tuned in and be able to make a save. It's a tough thing to do. I thought he did very well."