The Sounders hit the road to take on Real Salt Lake after a tough loss at home to Sporting KC to start the season.
The Sounders are off to Salt Lake City this weekend to face the fearsome front line of Real Salt Lake. For RSL, it’s their home opener and a chance to forget the miserable ending to their season opener on the road against Orlando City. Up 2-0 in stoppage time, RSL allowed Brek Shea to hit a beautiful cross in to Clyde Larin, who one-touched it home for the goal. 65 seconds later, Orlando City scored again to tie the game and cost RSL two points on the road.
More from Seattle Sounders
- Sounders’ struggles continue in loss to Sacramento
- Sounders: Has Clint Dempsey Played his Final Game for USMNT?
- Sounders Fight to Draw Against Former Coach
- Gold Cup Final Pits USMNT Against Unlikely Foe
- How International Duty Sparked Sounders Midfielder Cristian Roldan
It was a shocking collapse, but what is scary for the Sounders about the RSL’s opening match in Florida was what RSL was able to do with ten men on the pitch for the nearly half an hour. They still remained dangerous up front in the attacking third even down a man, which is concerning for the Sounders, who will likely have to start a patchwork defensive backfield on the road.
The Sounders will reportedly be without team captain and best defender Brad Evans, who was undercut by Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer in the 88th minute of the Sounders’ loss last week. Evans came down hard on his shoulder, and despite early optimism (or smoke screens) displayed by coach Sigi Schmid, the Sounders will have to replace him on their back line.
Whoever the Sounders start along with Chad Marshall in the middle of their defense, likely Zach Scott, a 35-year-old veteran who closed out the match against SKC, will have the hands full against the ball distribution genius of Juan Manuel Martinez and Javier Morales. Martinez, or “Burrito,” as RSL fans like to call him, was routinely found overloading the middle of the attacking third against Orlando City as a centralized playmaker, lending support to RSL forward Yuran Movsisyan and causing such confusion that Orlando City center back Darwin Ceren cleaned out Morales and drew a well-deserved red card.
The Sounders will be without Evans and Oneil Fisher, who will serve a suspension for his red card against SKC. Defenseman Tyron Mears is still questionable with an injured quad that kept him out of the SKC match, although he reportedly trained with the team this week. Defensive midfielder Erik Friberg is expected to return.
If the Sounders can keep Morales and Martinez in check without Evans, they’ll have a chance at their first win of the season.