From The Other Side

From the Other Side: Real Salt Lake look to rebound against Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders will play at Real Salt Lake on Saturday (1 p.m. PT; Joetv/KIRO 97.3 FM/El Rey 1360 AM), the team’s first road game of 2016. While the Sounders are coming off a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, RSL posted a 2-2 draw against Orlando City on opening weekend last week.
To preview the fixture, SoundersFC.com checked in with television analyst Brian Dunseth, who will be on the local call for the Claret and Cobalt on Saturday.



Don’t Hit the Panic Button

There are a few ways to look at it. It was the first game of the season and early adversity always helps, especially when you talk about these two teams.  You’d rather face this adversity early and see the true makeup of the group and how the players respond.


For Seattle, I saw all the elements of a team that I expect to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, a split-second decision by a young player—in this case, a bad tackle—changed the course of the game.


I know the results were disappointing in the big scheme of things, but I think for Sigi Schmid, it’s important overall to see the heart and soul and the battling mentality that you expect to see with a Sounders team … I saw all of those elements last weekend.



For Real Salt Lake, they were behind the eight ball early in the match as they went down to 10 men. To see them battle back and the game go level after Darwin Cerén saw a red card … the structural difference in the formation was drastically different than at the opening whistle.


Up until that 94th minute, RSL felt as if it was an incredible result. Full credit to Orlando—they had two great balls over the top and hard work from Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter—and all that hard work feels like a loss. It was still a point on the road and this week, both teams are looking for that opportunity to bounce back. They’re both eager to see what they can pick up at Rio Tinto Stadium.


Champions League: Pro or Woe?

There are two ways to look at it. One, you can make the argument that both of these teams, around the 60th, 70th, 80th minute, would have fitness on their side because of the two-90 minute games in SCCL. The main talking point about Champions League is that Liga MX teams are halfway into their seasons and for MLS teams, it’s their first competitive match of the year. When you look at Sporting Kansas City and Orlando, you’d think that they are shaking off the rust to get the kinks out in their first game of the year.


The big transition for both of these teams is the full week off. It’s not significant travel for Seattle as they make their way to Sandy, and for RSL, the team got back immediately and has a full week of rest under their belt.



Now it’s up to the coaching staffs to make the appropriate adjustments based on injuries and suspensions. They have to get what they think will be the most impactful team on the field.


This is a big game. Even though it’s the second game of the season, make no mistake about it, it’s an important match for these two teams that once that whistle blows, they really don’t like each other. It has become one of the great battles in the Western Conference whether at home or on the road.


Adjustments All Around

The reality is for RSL is that they’re still looking to add some pieces. All conversations point to adding depth at the center back position. That would add competition.


For Seattle, it’s a team that is trying to harness what it means not to have Obafemi Martins as part of the group going forward. The team has to understand what that means for Nelson Valdez, what it means for Andreas Ivanschitz, what it means for Clint [Dempsey] and what it means for Jordan Morris … and then also acclimate Jordan. He’ll need to adjust to the constant demand of play that is different than what it was in college.


It’s going to be fascinating going forward to see how Seattle evolves and how they take advantage of the perception around MLS that RSL potentially has some defensive cracks. 

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