The Seattle Sounders are visiting Real Salt Lake on Saturday (6:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM) in their second and final meeting of the regular season. Here are three matchups to watch:
Will Bruin vs. Justen Glad
The Sounders are in the midst of a six-match stretch in 19 days, including the next four away from home, and Head Coach Brian Schmetzer will likely continue to rotate. Bruin started in the Sounders’ 1-0 win over Minnesota United on Sept. 18, and after Raúl Ruidíaz went the distance against Santos Laguna on Tuesday and with the Leagues Cup Final looming next Wednesday, there’s a legitimate chance Bruin gets another runout up top. The big man will have a bruising battle against MLS veteran Glad, one of the leaders on this Salt Lake back line.
Shane O’Neill vs. Damir Kreilach
O’Neill has been excellent in the last two matches against Minnesota and Santos, and he’ll need to have another strong showing versus Kreilach. The Croatian is capable of scoring in a plethora of ways, and his nine goals lead RSL this year. If O’Neill & Co. can pitch their third straight clean sheet, it’ll be a massive step in taking three points back to Seattle.
Freddy Juarez vs. Pablo Mastroeni
One of the biggest matchups on Saturday will take place off the field. Juarez stepped down as RSL manager last month before joining Seattle’s staff as an assistant. He will have as good an insight as anyone into the ins and outs of this team, and his ability to relay that information to Schmetzer and his players should set the Sounders up for success. His replacement Mastroeni will have his squad motivated against their former boss and try and earn three massive home points as RSL fights for its playoff life.