Key Matchups

Three matchups to watch when the Sounders visit RSL

The Seattle Sounders are visiting Real Salt Lake on Saturday (6:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app) in their second meeting of the season. Here are three matchups to watch:

Jordan Morris vs. Bode Hidalgo


Boosted by a nearly full 90 minutes last week with the United States national team, a short recovery substitute appearance last weekend and the evening off on Wednesday in the Sounders’ U.S. Open Cup win over San Diego Loyal SC, Morris should be fully rested and ready to go on Saturday. The current MLS Golden Boot leader will likely occupy the left wing again and should have a favorable 1-v-1 matchup. Hidalgo is a 21-year-old RSL Homegrown who made his MLS debut last season and has earned his first couple starts in the past few weeks. Playing away from home, look for Seattle to sit a little deeper and pick its moments to counter by springing Morris in behind the back line.

Nicolás Lodeiro vs. Jasper Löffelsend


Lodeiro has been dialed in so far in 2023. The Sounders captain is tied for third in MLS in both assists (five) and Key Passes (18). In the first meeting between these two teams on Matchday 2, Lodeiro tied a season high with four Key Passes and had his second-best xA with 0.5. He still pulls the strings in attack for the Sounders and will be a tough ask defensively for Löffelsend. The 25-year-old German and former University of Pittsburgh product has solidified his spot in Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s defensive midfield and will need to try and keep Lodeiro from receiving balls in dangerous pockets of space.

Kelyn Rowe vs. Andrés Gómez


Rowe stepped up in the absence of Nouhou against Minnesota last weekend with a solid two-way performance at left back. The Federal Way native appears poised to resume his role this weekend at RSL. Rowe will have a strong test against offseason U22 Initiative acquisition Gómez. RSL signed the 20-year-old from Millonarios in his native Colombia, and he’s coming off a Team of the Matchday performance, which included a golazo from outside the box and an assist to boot. RSL still relies heavily on playmaker Damir Kreilach, but the 34-year-old went 120 minutes midweek in RSL’s Open Cup win over Las Vegas Lights. If Kreilach is limited, the attacking onus will fall even more squarely on Gómez’s shoulders.



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