By Money Mike
These last couple of days, you think about the 2011 playoffs and you continue to ask yourself how this team couldn't get the job done especially when all the momentum was in their favor. That was then, this is now. In a city that over the years has proved to be the Soccer Capital of America (Seattle, WA), inside a fortress filled with over 38,000 fans (CenturyLink Field), the top two teams in the Western Conference get set to collide in a rematch of last years MLS Cup quarterfinal. Coming off their fifth straight win, the Seattle Sounders (7-1-1, 22 points) return home to the Emerald City to face Real Salt Lake (7-3-2, 23 points) with a massive opportunity not only at revenge, but to take over first place in the Western Conference. The only chance of taking over the top spot is to pick up a sixth straight win.
The Sounders may have two games in hand with the San Jose Earthquakes and three games in hand with Real Salt Lake. It may be early in the season. However, with the Sounders in a tight race for the top spot in the Western Conference and possibly the Supporters Shield, every game is a must win.
Real Salt Lake - For Salt Lake, Cody Arnoux has a strained left adductor and he's listed as doubtful, although I don't think he would've been on the squad for this match. Javier Morales strained his left quad during training and is listed as questionable, but he is not on the squad and will not play. That's a big loss right there. Lastly, Nick Rimando missed RSL midweek match against the Chicago due to impingement on his left shoulder. Right now he's listed as probable, so there's a chance he might be in net.
Seattle Sounders FC - For the Rave Green, of the guys that are out are Josh Ford, Michael Tetteh, Steve Zakuani and Babayele Sodade. Michael Gspurning will be out once again for this match with a strained right hip, but there's a chance however that he'll return for Seattle's Cascadia Rivalry match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Last but not least, Alvaro Fernandez has missed the last five games with a quad injury. It looks like he's officially cleared and ready to go for tomorrows match.
Real Salt Lake - NONE
Seattle Sounders FC - Zach Scott has been handed a one game suspension by the MLS disciplinary committee for his challenge on Fabian Castillo that resulted in a yellow card. That challenge was not red card offense, I don't know what the committee was looking at.
The Sounders have been in so many big matches over the years. They know what it takes to get the job done. RSL may have knocked the Sounders out last year, but that was last year. This years Sounders team is a lot tougher than last years with Mauro Rosales back healthy, new acquisitions like Eddie Johnson, Marc Burch, Adam Johansson and I would've added Gspurning but they won't face him because he's out injured. Bottomline is, the Sounders have conceded the fewest goals in MLS so far with three and they're facing an RSL team that so far has conceded 12. To me, this is one of the biggest matches in club history and maybe one of the biggest matches in Seattle Sports history.