The Seattle Sounders will face Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals at CenturyLink Field.
Reak Salt Lake sneaked their way through Portland Timbers in the first round of the playoffs thanks to a late goal by Jefferson Savarino. The match ended as 2-1 in RSL’s favour.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Sounders advanced to the semis by beating FC Dallas in an exhilarating manner. The game was decided in extra time as both teams scored three goals each within 90 minutes. However, it was Jordan Morris who scored the winner while also completing his hat-trick in the second half of extra time. Seattle ended up winning with a scoreline of 4-3.
This will be the third time that RSL and Seattle Sounders confront one another in Western Conference semi-finals.
Date- Thursday, October 24 | Kick-Off- 7:30 AM (IST) | Venue- CenturyLink Field
Will Bruin is out of contention for the semi-finals due to an ACL tear. Keeping aside Bruin, the manager, Brian Schmetzer has a fully fit squad for the crunch game. Frei is expected to be in guard of goal, while Smith, Kee-hee, Torres and Leerdam should comprise the back four. Svensson and Roldan could feature in central-midfield. Whereas, Morris, Lodeiro and Jones could fill in the attacking-midfield role. Ruidiaz could feature as the lone striker.
Real Salt Lake
Jordan Allen and Nick Besler remain on the sidelines due to injuries. Other than those two, Freddy Juarez will look to play his strongest eleven in the semi-finals. Rimando should keep between the sticks, while Herrera, Silva, Onuoha and Toia should fill in at back four. Beckerman and Luiz are the two candidates to accommodate central midfield. Savarino, Rusnak and Baird should partner along to create chances, Meanwhile, Kreilach is likely to remain up top.
Seattle Sounders- Frei; Smith, Kee-hee, Torres, Leerdam; Roldan, Svensson; Morris, Lodeiro, Jones; Ruidiaz
Real Salt Lake- Rimando; Herrera, Silva, Onuoha, Toia; Beckerman, Luiz; Savarino, Rusnak, Baird; Kreilach
In the last six meetings between the two sides, it’s Real Salt Lake who has had the upper hand with four wins in contrast to Seattle Sounders.
Seattle has won eight of their last nine home games against RSL in all competitions.
Jordan Morris’ match-winning hat-trick for Seattle must have warmed him up for Real Salt Lake. In totality, Morris has scored 13 goals and has six assists to his name in 27 appearances.
Raul Ruidiaz has also chipped in for Seattle by registering 12 goals in the MLS out of 23 appearances this season.
For Real Salt Lake, Alberth Rusnak has been pivotal this season with 10 goals and two assists in 30 appearances this season. Jefferson Savarino’s late goal against Portland will lift his confidence before the clash against Seattle. The attacking midfielder has scored nine goals and has five assists for RSL in 29 appearances.
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