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Real Salt Lake vs. Sounders, recap: Rio Tinto remains house of horrors

Sounders drop a 1-0 result to RSL, running their winless streak in Utah to 11 games.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an emotional win on Tuesday, the Seattle Sounders looked about as flat as they have all year in losing 1-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The Sounders used a rotated lineup that featured five changes from the win over Santos Laguna and never seemed to find the game.

Although RSL’s only goal came through Damir Kreilach in the second half, they controlled vast portions of the match as the Sounders struggled to create any kind of consistent pressure. The loss runs the Sounders record to 1-10-3 all-time at Rio Tinto Stadium, which includes an 11-game winless streak that dates to 2011.

The Sounders will next play on Wednesday in the Leagues Cup final against Léon before returning to league play on Sunday at Sporting Kansas City.

Key Moments

13’ — Justen Glad gets an open look at a header off a corner kick, but he bounces it too hard off the turf and it goes over the bar.

15’ — Aaron Herrera hits a full volley about as well he can but he hits the crossbar and stays out.

24’ — Damir Kreilach get a good look at a header but hits it just wide.

27’ — Raul Ruidiaz gets a decent look from a tight angle that’s saved rather easily, but he missed Josh Atencio streaking through the middle.

29’ — The Sounders finally have some sustained pressure and are close to a breakthrough when Nico Benezet feeds Brad Smith streaking into the box. Smith appears to be both dragged back and kicked, but no foul is called.

48’ — Goal. Herrera beats Brad Smith on the wing and is able to find Kreilach at the back post for a header despite Abdoule Cissoko and Kelyn Rowe being touch tight to him on either side. It was the first run-of-play goal the Sounders have allowed this year with either Stefan Frei or Nouhou on the field. RSL 1-0.

57’ — Albert Rusnak gets loose on the far post but his shot is expertly saved by Stefan Frei.

63’ — Rubio Rubin finds some space on the right wing but his shot whistles wide of the far post.

83’ — Fredy Montero gets his head on a free kick but it goes just wide.

Talking points

House of horrors: The Sounders have been the most consistent team in MLS since coming into the league, but one thing they’ve not been able to figure out is how to win at Rio Tinto. This was the 11th straight time in the regular season they’ve come to Utah without collecting a win. More than that, they always seem to turn in flat performances. Sure, they were using a rotated lineup and the conditions were far from ideal, but this was also a RSL team who has been leaking goals and the Sounders never created any consistent danger.

Not quite ready from primetime: To be clear, Josh Atencio and Danny Leyva had their work cut out for them in the central midfield and Brian Schmetzer insisted that he was happy how they performed. Individually, both have mostly looked good this year and they had some bright moments in this one, but taken as a collective performance it’s hard to ignore how overmatched they looked at times. The Sounders generated no offense through the middle and struggled to gain meaningful possession. I think both have promising futures but I don’t know that they’re ready to run the midfield against a decent opponent at this point.

Shield slipping away: The Sounders entered the night trailing the New England Revolution by 10 points — but possessing two games in hand — in the Supporters’ Shield race. Despite the Revs dropping points at home to the Columbus Crew, the Sounders lost ground in that race. Winning the Shield was always a long shot but it’s a bit sobering to realize that the last time the Sounders gained ground on the Revs was July 7, more than two months ago.

What’s going on with Nico?: Despite not appearing on the injury report, Nicolás Lodeiro did not even suit up for this game. Afterward, Schmetzer clarified that his midfielder has re-aggravated the same injury for which he had arthroscopic surgery earlier this year. It was not immediately clear how long Lodeiro might be out but Schmetzer told the broadcasters that he thought it was only a short-term issue. Time will tell.

Did you see that?!?

At least Stefan Frei is looking like himself.

He said what?!?

The Sounders came into the locker room feeling good about being tied 0-0 and getting to have the wind at their backs. Instead, they spent the first 15 minutes or so defending for their lives.

One stat to the tell the tale

7 — Not only have the Sounders failed to win any of their past 11 regular-season games in Utah, but this was the seventh time they’ve been shut out in that time.


Man of the Match

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Stefan Frei
    (231 votes)
  • 1%
    Alex Roldan
    (4 votes)
  • 25%
    Xavier Arreaga
    (84 votes)
  • 4%
    Fredy Montero
    (15 votes)
334 votes total Vote Now

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