Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake
MLS Regular Season
Saturday, May 31; 1 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: Q-13 FOX (locally); ROOT Sports (regionally); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)
"Streaks are meant to be broken," Sounders FC captain Brad Evans said. "When you're on the other side of the streak, that's how you look at it."
That is how Sounders FC is looking at it this week when it hosts Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.
Real Salt Lake is one match away from breaking the MLS record for the longest unbeaten streak to start a season. At 6-0-6, RSL can surpass the 12-match unbeaten streaks that the LA Galaxy opened the season with in 1996 and in 2010.
The only thing standing in its path now is Sounders FC, the lone team in MLS that leads RSL in the Supporters' Shield standings and a team on a tear at home with four straight wins at CenturyLink Field.
"They've done well and they've gotten results. They're a good team," Seattle Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. "Winning the game is most important and stopping their streak is part of winning the game."
Stopping long streaks is nothing new for Seattle.
In 2009, Sounders FC went into Crew Stadium and snapped the Columbus Crew's 22-match home unbeaten streak. In 2011, the Sounders did the same at Rio Tinto Stadium, ending a 29-match home unbeaten run for RSL. Seattle also handed Sporting Kansas City its first defeat at Sporting Park with a 2-1 win in 2011.
Seattle, with the best record in the league at 8-3-2, now want to make sure that Salt Lake fails to break the MLS record, but also wants to distance itself from the pack in the standings. RSL is just two points back, and while ending their streak is the goal, it is no different than any other home match for Seattle.
"In the back of our mind, we play to zero, we get some chances, we finish them and we look to get three points," Evans said. "No matter it's a team that's won 12 in a row or a team that hasn't lost in 15 … whatever it is, the objective stays the same."
Salt Lake has done well to maintain its success over the last six years. The club has the longest run of postseason appearances in MLS (six), and has one MLS Cup and one other final to its credit. This year, it has gotten off to a hot start under new Head Coach Jeff Cassar after his predecessor, Jason Kreis, left at the end of 2013 to take the reins with NYCFC when it takes the field in 2015.
RSL's former goalkeeper coach, Cassar has excelled in the earlygoing in his first head-coaching job.
"Jeff's done well. He was around the team for a long time and he knew what the philosophy of the club was," Schmid said. "He was part of developing that philosophy with Jason Kreis and so he's been able to keep things going and keep things headed in the same direction."
Kickoff for Saturday's match is scheduled for 1 pm PT from CenturyLink Field, with local television coverage on Q-13 FOX and a regional broadcast on ROOT Sports.