Playoffs. Quite simply they are about winning and losing. The numbers can only say so much (they say that the teams are evenly matched over a four year stretch), but as Sigi Schmid has made clear this week a single moment can change any game and particularly the MLS Cup Playoffs. For the Seattle Sounders that moment may need to come early. It would release the tension of the fanbase, amplifying the already deafening roar. It would inspire confidence in a team that has scored so rarely in the short season.
For Real Salt Lake it means composure, staying in the shape with which they are so familiar. With Jason Kreis in charge they know exactly how to behave in all circumstances. They will not be surprised. They do have weaknesses. Their backline is only recently back from injury all to leg muscles.
That's the first opportunity for the Sounders. Make that line run more than they usually do. Force the poor fitness and likely reoccurrence of injury to adjust playing styles of a strong defense. Montero did that in the last match against Olave. The Sounders also must control Beckerman's ability to pass out of the back. For this reason hopefully Tiffert is in the middle with Evans on the left. That puts a strong defender on Beckerman and one of his easy outlets. Evans in a wider role also can help reduce the amount of time Beltran is able to get forward, because Brad will notice that empty space, he will take it and he will score if left open for a late run.
It is a simple match of styles and wills. You are ready to watch it happen. The hunt for the MLS Cup starts now.
The game is on KONG/ROOT/NBC Sports and 97.3 FM at 7 PM Pacific
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda; SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Allen Chapman
INJURY REPORT (Friday)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC -- OUT: FW Sodade (R knee ACL surgery); DF Duran (L knee ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gonzalez (R hamstring strain); FW Johnson (L adductor strain); PROBABLE: DF Ianni (R calf strain); MF Rose (L adductor strain)
REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: GK Fernandez (R wrist fracture); QUESTIONABLE: DF Schuler (R quad strain); PROBABLE: DF Borchers (L quad strain); MF Grabavoy (R quad strain); DF Olave (L hamstring strain); FW Paulo Junior (R foot contusion)
- Impose Will In First 15 Minutes
- Quick Crosses In
- Wary Of Floating Fullbacks
- Defend the Throughball