The two powerhouses of the MLS Western Conference will go head to head on Saturday as both Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders welcome back national players to their rosters. Last time the teams met in late May, both squads were shy core players, however the outcome of the match saw Sounders FC demolish Real 4-0. Saturday’s game will be definitive as both teams step on the pitch fully loaded.
Real, currently in second place in the Western Conference, will go into Saturday’s match coming off of a 1-1 draw against Mexico’s Club Tijuana on Tuesday. Real coach, Jeff Cassar, took the opportunity to showcase many of his younger players against Tijuana, a strategy that paid off nicely.
After falling behind in the 77th minute, Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil proved himself to be a dynamic and reliable midfielder by converting the equalizer just two minutes shy of 90 minutes. Gil reports to the Bahamas next week for training camp with the U-23 United States Men’s National Team as they work toward qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.
Sounders FC presently hold the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference. This past Wednesday, the Western Conference leaders went up against Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals and handed the Men in Red a devastating 6-0 thrashing. Both Kenny Cooper and Andy Rose logged a pair of goals, and Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins each converted a scoring opportunity. Swiss goalkeeper, Stefan Frei, had a memorable shutout performance for Sounders.
Saturday, Real will look to continue the team’s five-game MLS season undefeated streak. Working in their favor is the fact that Real has been victorious for the past five home games at Rio Tinto Stadium. Cassar said of his team’s recent success on the pitch, “I think it’s just everyone coming together right now. We just want to stay humble and keep working hard.”
Also on the positive side, Cassar and Real may welcome back Costa Rican striker, Álvaro Saborio, in time for Saturday’s game. Saborio had knee surgery back in June, and has been practicing with the squad according to reports. Also being greeted by the Real welcome committee is Sebastián Jaime, the Argentine striker with 39 goals scored for Chile’s Unión Española.
In light of DeAndre Yedlin’s recent agreement with Tottenham, the terms of the so-called “delayed transfer” state that Yedlin will finish out the rest of the 2014 season with the MLS and Sounders before making the trek to the Premier League. Reports have alternated between $3.5 and $4 million as Yedlin’s transfer fee.
Seattle Sounders will go into tomorrow’s game fresh off the team’s 2-0 defeat over Houston Dynamo last Sunday. The victory marked the end in a short-lived losing streak for Sounders, who will look to Saturday to begin a winning streak.
Real Salt Lake will play host to Seattle Sounders for Saturday’s MLS game at the team’s Rio Tinto Stadium. The match is set to take place at 11:30 a.m. PST. The game can be viewed on television on NBCSN, and will stream on NBCSports.com as well.
Commentary by Courtney Anderson