For much of the season, the Seattle Sounders took us on a highly enjoyable ride. From the 13-match unbeaten run to start the year to multiple nine-point weeks to the run to the Leagues Cup final and then lifting the Cascadia Cup for a third straight time, it has been mostly good.
Unfortunately, the last six games have not been quite as fun. The Sounders went into the playoffs on a six-game winless run, not necessarily playing poorly but definitely not up to the standard they’d set throughout the year.
Now they have a chance to put that all behind them. Coming off an 16-day break, the Sounders will face Real Salt Lake in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs tonight. RSL has been a highly unpredictable side this year. At their best, they score goals in bunches. At their worst, they concede at an even more alarming rate. In their last game, they changed formations into a defense-first 4-2-3-1 but have mostly used an atypical 3-5-2 that puts attacking players in the wingbacks positions under Pablo Mastroeni.
The Sounders should rightly feel like the favorites, but could very easily have their hands full.
- The Sounders have won 15 straight home playoff games, easily the longest postseason winning streak in MLS history. Only two other teams even had 10-game streaks, and the last of those ended in 2001.
- Raúl Ruidíaz has nine goals and six assists in 10 playoff games. With one more playoff goal, he’ll rank among the top 9 playoff scorers in MLS history. None of the others in the current Top 8 have fewer than 21 appearances.
- The Sounders have qualified for the conference semifinals in each of the 12 previous seasons and won at least one playoff game in each of the past eight years. Only Sporting KC has an active streak of even two years in either category.
- Brian Schmetzer’s playoff record is 15-4-2, good for a .762 winning percentage. Bruce Arena (.702) is the only other head coach in MLS history that is even over .650.
- This is the fourth all-time playoff encounter between the Sounders and RSL. RSL won the first meeting — prevailing 3-2 on aggregate — but the Sounders have won the last two meetings, including a 2-0 win in the 2019 playoffs.
- Fredy Montero’s 68 all-competition goals is a Sounders franchise record, but he has yet to score a playoff goal in Rave Green. He did score a playoff goal for the Whitecaps against the Sounders in 2017, however.
Absences: Injury, international duty and suspension
QUESTIONABLE: Medranda (L quad strain)
OUT: Bruin (R knee surgery); Delem (R ACL tear); Nouhou (Health and safety protocols)
OUT: Farnsworth (knee)
REFEREE: Joseph Dickerson; AR1 (bench): Logan Brown; AR2 (opposite): Chris Elliott; 4th: Victor Rivas; VAR: Timothy Ford; AVAR: Jeremy Kieso
How to Watch
Match date/kickoff time: Tuesday, 7:38 PM PST
Venue: Lumen Field, Seattle
Online Streaming: Fubo TV (affiliate link)
National Radio: SiriusXMFC
National English TV: FS1 (John Strong & Stu Holden)
Local Radio: 950/1090 KJR-AM Seattle (Costigan, Keller)
Local Spanish Radio: El Rey 1360 AM (Rodriguez, Maqueda, Tapia)
National Spanish TV: Fox Deportes
Brazil: DAZN (Brazil)
China: China Sports Media
Czech Republic & Slovakia: Nova Sports (Czech Republic)
Georgia: Silk Sport
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain: DAZN (Europe)
Latin America (excl. Brazil): ESPN Latin America
Middle East & North Africa: Abu Dhabi Sports
Netherlands: ESPN Netherlands
Southeast Asia & Oceania: beIN Sports
Sub-Saharan Africa: ESPN Africa
Ukraine: Football 1
United Kingdom & Ireland: Sky Sports/Free Sports
Ready for Round One.— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) November 24, 2021
Tonight's @Delta Starting XI!
https://t.co/8fTl6hUhEo | #SEAvRSL pic.twitter.com/9fiMRBIFZm
Let's rock.#SEAvRSL | #MLSCupPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/h3D6YPGqNO— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) November 24, 2021
Highlights will be posted as the match progresses.
This is Seattle Sounders vs. RSL; watch with us
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