Friday, October 28, 2011

Seattle Sounders FC head to Rio Tinto for the first leg of the MLS Cup playoffs

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders take on Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Quarterfinal of the MLS Cup playoffs down in Salt Lake tomorrow night at 7 p.m. This is a huge week for the Men in Rave Green as they look to advance past the quarterfinal round after failing to do so the first two seasons in MLS. These two teams split the season series with 2-1 road victorys. Real Salt Lake are coming into this series under heavy pressure after ending the regular season on a 6 game winless run. If Seattle can come away with at least a draw in this first leg, that would give them an even greater advantage going into the second leg on Wednesday night in Seattle.

Injury report:

Seattle Sounders FC - Here's the injury report for the Sounders. Terry Boss, Mike Seamon and Steve Zakuani are shut down for the remaining part of the season. O'Brian White looks to be done as well. Mauro Rosales re-spained his MCL last Saturday against Chivas USA and we just recieved word earlier today that he did not make the trip, so he is out. There's a chance however that he'll return for the second leg. Josh Ford has a knee problem and he didn't make the trip either. And finally, Amadou Sanyang has a knee sprain.

Real Salt Lake - For Real Salt Lake, Nelson Gonzalez has a fractured right foot and Cody Arnoux has a strained left hammie and both are out. Tony Beltran is listed as questionable with a left adductor strain, however he will not play tomorrow. Ned Grabavoy, who has a left adductor strain, and Kyle Reynish, who has a right ankle bone spur, are both listed as probable.

Key matchups:

Mike Fucito vs Jamison Olave - I'm expecting Sigi Schmid to start Mike Fucito over Sammy Ochoa to test RSL defender Jamison Olave. Back on May 28th, Fucito was brought down be Olave to deny a breakaway chance for the Sounders. That resulted in a straight red card for Olave.

RSL Midfield vs Seattle Midfield - I think the midfield battle will decide the match here. Salt Lake will get a boost with Kyle Beckerman coming back following his three match ban to team up in the central part of midfield with Javier Morales. On the other side, the Sounders will be missing Mauro Rosales, so the question will be, do you start Lamar Neagle, do you start Erik Friberg, only Sigi has the answer to that.

What to look out for in this game:

- The Sounders have had a week to get prepped for the first leg down in Salt Lake and are feeling confident that they will walk away with a result. First legs are always huge.

- Real Salt Lake will of course be attacking all game and trying to put one past Kasey Keller while Seattle will do the same and attack but in my mind will also play more of a defensive minded game.

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