Call it what you want, Decision Day, Day of reckoning, rubber meets the roads and whatever clique comes to mind, the truth is the Seattle Sounders ( 13-14-6 46pts) need a win in Sundays 1 p.m match against Real Salt Lake ( 12-11-1 46 pts) at Century Link Field. Real Salt Lake needs just a draw as the two Western Conference foe’s will battle for a playoff spot.
The Sounders enter Sunday’s contest in fifth place, one point behind RSL who is in fourth place and Sporting Kansas City ( 12-13-8 44pts) occupying the sixth and final spot. Portland Timbers are in seventh place and could backdoor themselves into the post season with various scenarios that would start with a Sounders loss.
Sunday battle between the Sounders and RSL will be determined by which team can dominate the middle of the field. Both teams have talented strikers that can put the ball in the back of the net if given the opportunity. The Sounder rookie Jordan Morris leads the team with 12 goals while Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata share the RSL lead with nine goals each.
RSL midfielders Kyle Beckerman,Luke Mulholland and Javier Morales will try to control the middle with precision short passes that will free Movsisyan and Plata who will be making runs at the Seattle defenders. The Sounders will try to disrupt RSL’s offensive rhythm in the middle of the pitch with Cristian Roldan and Osvaldo Alonso. If Roldan and Alonso are successful in their role as disrupts and able to get the ball, creative midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro will have time and space in possession be able to look for the speedy Morriss who will try to get behind the RSL defense.
- RSL is winless in its last six overall matches and has lost the last five meetings against Seattle at CenturyLink Field.
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season in league play, each having won by a 2-1 scoreline on their home ground. On Aug. 14, Nicolas Lodeiro scored one goal and set up another from Jordan Morris, in a Sounders FC win at CenturyLink Field. Jamisón Olave netted the late game-winner,giving Real the win March 12 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Sounder defender Zach Scott has announced his retirement at the end of the season and the team is honoring him with a bubble head doll giveaway. Scott has been with the team since 2002. Scott spent the first six years of his professional career with the USL Sounders and is the only remaining player on Seattle’s roster from its pre-MLS days.