1) Home field counts for a lot in this matchup
People often debate the validity of home field advantage, e.g. is it a real thing or just down to how mentally strong the away team is? Whether real or imagined, there is no denying previous results in respect of these two specific teams.
The last five times the Sounders have played at Rio Tinto Stadium, they have been on the losing side. However, this game is taking place in Seattle, where Real Salt Lake are similarly on a five-game losing streak, including a 2-1 defeat back in August.
In addition, RSL have struggled in general on the road this season, losing 10 of their 16 away fixtures, and are currently on a 0-3-3 streak in all games. Given that the Sounders need a win to guarantee a home game in the first round, the circumstances — while not ideal — are fairly favorable for them.
Bizarrely, a similar scenario took place last year, with the two teams meeting on the final day of the season and the Sounders facing the prospect of missing the playoffs for the first time since entering MLS. Obviously fans will be hoping for a similar result as then, when the Rave Green scored twice in the opening 10 minutes, on the way to a comfortable 3-1 victory.