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Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders, Talking Points: Two leads, one point

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Hard not to feel like that was two points dropped

Seattle Sounders FC v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Whenever the Seattle Sounders travel to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake, it’s a tough match. If you had offered me a draw 90 minutes before kickoff, I would’ve been very intrigued by your offer and would’ve probably accepted it. If the same proposal came my way 45 minutes before kickoff, after the lineups had been announced, I would’ve accepted without a second’s thought.

And, well, here we are and I’m really bummed because the Sounders didn’t win in Sandy, Utah. They were the better team over the course of the 90 minutes. Here’s a handful of talking points I have after the Sounders drew RSL 2-2.

Formation change worked

I’ll put my hand up and say I didn’t love the idea of going with three CBs against RSL. The last time the Sounders did that was when RSL slapped them around 3-0 last August. Considering Seattle had to rotate heavily, I thought it would’ve been better to keep the formation the same as it always is. Well, I was wrong. This is why I’m just a blogger and Brian Schmetzer is a head coach in MLS.

The back 3/5 hybrid totally worked. It clogged up RSL in open play and allowed the Sounders to transition into the attack really well. Most importantly, it protected Xavier Arreaga in his first start since he returned from injury. I would like to see it more this season.

Trent Alexander-Roldan

Alex Roldan started at right back against RSL and I think most fans figured that he’d be the weakest link in a heavily rotated side. Surprisingly he wasn’t only good in the role of wingback, but he managed to emulate the play of the best right back in the world, Trent Alexander-Arnold (at least for a few seconds).

I’m not saying this is the best cross I’ve ever seen. But I won’t not say that either. If Roldan can play this well when he deputizes for Kelvin Leerdam, we’re in good hands.

Don’t give up leads

In order to succeed at soccer, you need to ensure that once you score more goals than your opponent, you keep it that way. It sounds simple, but soccer is really hard and there’s people who make a lot of money to make sure these things happen.

Seattle doesn’t have the best of luck in Sandy. They haven’t won there since Obama’s first term as President. They had two leads against RSL on Wednesday night. And they didn’t win the game. That can’t happen.

Set piece defense is important

There’s kind of this myth that corner kicks and free kicks are these golden opportunities to score goals. Statistically speaking, they’re really not! About 1% of the time does a team score directly from a corner kick. Our perception of them is sort of skewed. Teams shouldn’t score from corner kicks. RSL scored off of two of them tonight.

We can set aside the second goal. Fair enough. Tip of the hat to Pedro Ruiz for that strike. But the first goal from Justen Glad is what I’m more concerned about. The Sounders need to tighten up the marking on that play.

What were the talking points you had from RSLvSEA?