The Seattle Sounders are hosting Real Salt Lake on Wednesday in their first meeting of the 2021 MLS season. Here is everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT at Lumen Field (TICKETS).
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised on JOEtv and Prime Video.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The match will air on 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM.
2021 RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Seattle: 6-0-3 (21 points, 1st West), RSL: 3-1-3 (12 points, 6th West)
FORM GUIDE (most recent first): Seattle: WDDWW, RSL: WDDDL
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE: The Sounders are Major League Soccer’s lone remaining unbeaten team after Nashville SC lost over the weekend. Seattle came from behind to earn a 2-1 win at the LA Galaxy, their second win over their Southern California rivals in as many months.
RINSE AND REPEAT: Seattle owns the best defensive record in MLS, having conceded just four times in nine matches. That’s two fewer than the next closest teams, each of whom have played one fewer match. Even more remarkably, the Sounders have yet to allow a goal from the run of play, having gone 810 minutes of shutout soccer from the field to start the season.
AB CB: No Xavier Arreaga? No Nouhou? No problem. Saturday’s win over the Galaxy was plug-and-play for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, who penciled in recently signed 21-year-old French center back AB Cissoko for his first MLS start. He looked more than comfortable on the back line next to Shane O’Neill and Yeimar and helped preserve the Sounders’ stellar defensive mark.
EL GOLEADOR: Raúl Ruidíaz returned to the Sounders following his time with Peru for FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and wasted little time in getting back to his scoring ways by tapping home a rebound for the match-winner against LA. The goal was his seventh of the season, which ties him for first in MLS.
RUBIO RU-BEEN FANTASTIC: Forward Rubio Rubin is making an early case for MLS Newcomer of the Year after joining RSL from the USL’s San Diego Loyal. The former United States international became a journeyman following his departure from FC Utrecht in the top flight in the Netherlands in 2017, but he’s found a home in Salt Lake. He’s scored four goals, several of which have been worldies, and added two assists in just seven matches.
ALBERT AVAILABLE: RSL will benefit from having Designated Player Albert Rusnák available for Wednesday’s match after the 26-year-old was a surprise omission from the Slovakia roster at Euro 2020. The attacking midfielder has over 30 caps for his country, but will instead ply his trade for his club this summer, where he’s played all but one minute so far this season.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Salt Lake was widely considered to be one of the Western Conference bottom-dwellers this season, but RSL has started the season strongly under Head Coach Freddy Juarez. They’re tied with FC Cincinnati for fewest matches played this season so far with seven, but they’ve gotten some massive results including a road win at Minnesota United and a home victory over Sporting Kansas City.