Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders | MLS Match Preview

REAL SALT LAKE vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
Aug. 16, 2014 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #213)
12:30 p.m. MT (NBCSN, free stream at NBCSports.com)

It’s a top-of-the-table clash in the Western Conference when Real Salt Lake play host to Seattle Sounders FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sounders FC lead the West and the MLS overall table by two points ahead of second-place Real. RSL is undefeated in their last five matches following a 3-0 home win against D.C. United last weekend. Sounders FC returned to their winning form with a 2-0 home win against the Houston Dynamo last weekend, then reached yet another US Open Cup Final at midweek with a 6-0 semifinal victory against the Chicago Fire.

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REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: David Gantar
MLS Career: 86 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 10; pens: 16

SUSPENDED: SEA: Obafemi Martins (through Aug. 17)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Javier Morales … SEA: Gonzalo Pineda
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler, Luke Mulholland, Olmes Garcia, Kyle Beckerman … SEA: Osvaldo Alonso
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Real 5 wins, 11 goals … Sounders FC 4 wins, 14 goals … Ties 4
AT SALT LAKE (6 meetings): Real 3 wins, 8 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 2
FUTURE MATCH: 9/12: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. PT

2014 (MLS):
5/31: SEA 4, RSL 0 (Pineda 42; Pappa 55; Barrett 62; Martins 90)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. 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 three 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: P19 W7 L7 T5 … Jeff Cassar vs. SEA: P1 W0 L1 T0

LAST MEETING

  • Sounders FC took the lead in the 42nd minute. After Lamar Neagle was bundled over in the box while chasing down a loose ball, referee Ricardo Salazar awarded a penalty kick. For the second straight game, Gonzalo Pineda took the kick, blasting his shot into the side netting despite RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella guessing the right way.
  • Just seven minutes after halftime, the lead was doubled when Marco Pappa curled in a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out, bending his shot over the wall and just inside the near post.
  • The Sounders put the match away in the 62nd minute when Chad Barrett finished off a quick counterattack by sweeping home a shot inside the area. They added a bonus goal during stoppage time when Obafemi Martins tapped in a Kenny Cooper cross at the left post.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez - Lamar Neagle (Dylan Remick 75), Gonzalo Pineda (Andy Rose 90), Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa - Chad Barrett (Kenny Cooper 67), Obafemi Martins.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally 59) - Luke Mulholland (John Stertzer 74), Cole Grossman (Luis Gil 59), Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval.

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake stretched their undefeated streak to five games with a second straight shutout win, rolling to a 3-0 win against D.C. United on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 39 points from 23 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Real opened the scoring after just 11 minutes. From some extended possession, Luke Mulholland put in a cross from the right and 5-foot-2 forward Joao Plata got in front of his marker to head home from close range.
  • Just two minutes later, RSL doubled the lead. After a corner wasn't cleared and came out to Javier Morales on the left, he drove in a hard, low ball to the near post that center back Chris Schuler turned home inside the near post.
  • Real put the game away in the 24th minute, as Morales and Schuler again hooked up, this time in slightly more conventional fashion. Morales drove in a corner kick from the right and Schuler headed home to put the game away early.
  • RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was called upon to make just two saves for the clean sheet, becoming the league's all-time record holder with 113 shutouts for his MLS career.
  • RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made six changes to the team that took a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Only goalkeeper Nick Rimando, center back Nat Borchers and midfielders Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy and Javier Morales kept their places.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Carlos Salcedo, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally - Luke Mulholland, Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy (Sebastian Velasquez 88) - Javier Morales (Luis Gil 68) - Olmes Garcia, Joao Plata (Robbie Findley 65).

TEAM NEWS

  • Real extended their undefeated run to five league games, their longest since opening the season with 11 games unbeaten in league play. They are also undefeated in their last five games at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • RSL has recorded back-to-back shutouts and not allowed a goal in the last 213 minutes, after going nine games without keeping a clean sheet.
  • “We’re learning from our mistakes in the past, and everyone is unbelievably committed right now – on both sides of the ball. It’s helping out our offense and it’s helping out our defense,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “I think it’s just everyone coming together right now. We just want to stay humble and keep working hard.”
  • Nick Rimando became the MLS all-time leader in shutouts with the 113th of his career, making two saves. They are the first shutouts this season for Rimando since April 19, as he also missed six matches while on World Cup duty.
  • “I might have my name on the shutout but it’s a committed effort from the team. This is not only my record. My name is on it but there are a lot of guys that should be getting credit for this too. Nat Borchers, Eddie Pope, Ryan Nelson, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran, there are a lot of players,” Rimando said. “Man, I’ve been around a long time. But there are a lot of people that need to get credit for the record that I achieved.”
  • Chris Schuler scored his first goals since Sept. 3, 2011, when he netted vs. Philadelphia – a span of 70 league contests between scoring.
  • “It starts with excellent service from Javi [Morales], then it finishes with committed and aggressive runs in the box. Two fantastic finishes from Chris,” Cassar said. “It’s something we’ve been working on – both offensively and defensively – and tonight was a great night for it.”
  • Carlos Salcedo made his first start since June 4, while Abdoulie Mansally made his first start since June 28, coming in at the fullback positions with Real having three defenders suspended.
  • “The first little bit was a little bit rough for Mansally – a couple of balls I wasn’t pleased with. His reaction after that was fantastic.  He really got forward at the right times. It was a smart game from him in those regards,” Cassar said. “Carlos [Salcedo], to have to step into a position that he typically isn’t familiar with, right now is playing with a lot of confidence. … Our whole back line is feeling confident. It was just amazing for [Salcedo and Mansally] to step into that situation.”
  • There was an injury for Real as Javier Morales was forced from the field at the three-quarter mark of the match.
  • RSL announced the acquisition of Chilean forward Sebastian Jaime. He is expected to be available within the next couple of weeks, along with Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio, who is returning from injury.
  • “We were looking for people who could play with all of our forwards," Cassar said. “[Jaime] also plays in a 4-3-3 down there, plays in a 4-4-2 down there, so he's very versatile. I think it just gives us another arsenal to play possibly different ways in the future. Maybe not right now, but in the future play a different formation if we go a different route.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC put an end to their losing skid after two games, defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Sunday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in first place in the Western Conference and lead the MLS overall table with 41 points from 21 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo had a golden opportunity to grab an early lead in the 26th minute after a shot from Boniek Garcia caught defender Djimi Traore on the arm inside the Sounders FC area, and referee Chris Penso awarded a penalty kick. But goalkeeper Stefan Frei made a huge diving save, denying a stutter-step attempt by the Dynamo's Brad Davis to keep the game scoreless.
  • The game's goals came in a six-minute span in the second half. Sounders FC finally broke through in the 69th minute after Marco Pappa was able to give himself room just outside the Houston penalty area before hitting a shot that deflected off Houston defender David Horst, sending ‘keeper Tally Hall in the wrong direction as the ball skipped into the net.
  • Seattle extended the lead in the 75th minute after Ricardo Clark was called for a foul for pulling down Obafemi Martins in the box, and referee Penso again pointed to the spot. Hall guessed correctly on Gonzalo Pineda’s attempt to blast his shot up the middle, but the ball deflected under his gloves and into the net.
  • Seattle was dealt a big blow in the 86th minute when Martins was shown a second yellow card, this time for a hard tackle from behind, and given his marching orders.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to San Jose Earthquakes at Levi’s Stadium. Chad Marshall and Djimi Traore came into the back four and Lamar Neagle started in midfield, in place of DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott and Jalil Anibaba.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez - Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 68), Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa (Andy Rose 90) - Clint Dempsey (Kenny Cooper 90), Obafemi Martins (ejected 86).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC put an end to their first losing streak of the season, after two games. They also put an end to their goalless streak after 253 minutes with the opening goal vs. Houston, their longest of the season.
  • “Sometimes when you're in a little bit of a rut you sort of have to fight your way through to a victory. Sometimes it's not as artistic as you want it to be or as beautiful as you want it to be, but it's a little bit of rolling up the sleeves and fighting. ... For us it's just a battle,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid.
  • Sounders FC also recorded a fourth consecutive shutout at CenturyLink Field. They have not allowed a goal in 434 minutes at home in league play.
  • Marco Pappa scored his second goal in the last four games, now with three for the season, all coming over the last eight league matches (since May 31).
  • “You have to enjoy scoring goals, it's a part of the game. But more importantly we got the points after two difficult games where we failed to score. So we're happy with result and I think it's good for our confidence,” Pappa said.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid became the first coach in MLS history to reach the 200-win mark with the victory.
  • “I've been coaching for a long time, and it's fantastic to finally get it. I was starting to wonder if I was going to get it,” Schmid said. “It's a reflection of a lot of great players who have played for me. It's great – this can be the year I can get 200 as part of even bigger success I get at the end of the year.”
  • Chad Marshall returned to the Sounders FC lineup after missing two matches with a back injury suffered in a minor auto accident, while Djimi Traore made his first appearance since May 24 to partner Marshall in central defense.
  • With DeAndre Yedlin kept out of the team, Brad Evans started at right back, his sixth start in the back four in league play this season.
  • “Obviously he can play right back, he can play right midfield for us, he helps us out anywhere on the field. He has some guys who are playing their way back into form,” said Schmid. “Marshall being out for two weeks, so his fitness isn't back to where it was, and Gonzalez still trying to get his game fitness, and Traore is trying to get to his game fitness as well. All those things impacted us, but I thought Brad, wherever we stick him, does a good job.”
  • Yedlin was kept out of the squad after traveling to England, undergoing a physical and finalizing transfer negotiations which will see him move to Tottenham Hotspur FC following the end of the MLS season.
  • “Things [were] not entirely completed yet, so you didn’t want to play him and have the risk of injury happen without everything being finalized,” Schmid said. “… DeAndre will be with us through the end of the season, which is a good thing. It keeps our team intact. I think for him the opportunity to go to a club like that is fantastic.”
  • On Wednesday, Sounders FC reached the US Open Cup Final for a fifth time in six seasons, following a 6-0 rout of the Chicago Fire in the semifinal at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. Andy Rose and Kenny Cooper each scored a pair of goals and Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins also tallied as Sounders FC recorded their largest victory in the club’s MLS history, across all competitions.
  • Here’s the Sounders FC team: Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Jalil Anibaba, Zach Scott, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Osvaldo Alonso (Micheal Azira 64), Andy Rose, Marco Pappa (Leo Gonzalez 85), Chad Barrett (Obafemi Martins 74), Kenny Cooper.