Sounders FC aims to pick up its second straight MLS victory on Saturday when the club faces Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Here to provide his thoughts on the Western Conference clash is Ross Fletcher, the man who will be calling the game on Q13 FOX.
On the keys to earning a win this weekend:
For the Sounders, it’s all about continuing the momentum that they’ve picked up in the last two games, and really building on the character that they showed in those two matches. They ripped apart Orlando City with a dazzling display of skill, but for me, the more important factors were their work ethic, attitude and will to win every ball. I think they really stepped that up against Orlando City and really stepped on their throats.
And then on Wednesday, you saw the talent and determination of the side to see it through from a bad position in the Champions League against Olimpia. Seattle never gave up. They’ve managed to turn the tables on their recent form when they were the ones conceding late. Somehow, mentally, I think they’ve managed to flick that switch. That is so important to take into this next game against Real Salt Lake. They are a team that’s at the opposite end of things: short of confidence. It’s another winnable game for the Sounders.
On Real Salt Lake’s recent form:
It’s really been a year of transition for RSL, as you can see from their results. They’re in the second year under Jeff Cassar after the hugely successful Jason Kreis years. For me, it’s been all about their identity as a unit. In regards to their personnel, they haven’t been able to figure it out. Part of it is because they’ve had a series of injuries, and they haven’t been able to put that consistent side on the field. It hasn’t been the RSL team we’ve grown to know that makes the playoffs every year.
On the Sounders debut of Román Torres:
For Torres, I think it was an ideal debut against an Orlando side that was down on its confidence. And with just one striker up front, it was a good day for Torres to settle himself in as a Sounders defender. Playing alongside Chad Marshall, he was able to fit in pretty quickly. What you notice about Torres is he’s excellent in the air. Not only on offensive set pieces, but every defensive header was on the money, powerful and authoritative.
And then we also saw that he can play with his feet, with the assist on the fourth goal. You saw a central defender, with vision, stepping up and finding that long ball for Thomás. He could have just kept it simple in the late stages of the game, but he noticed Thomás in space, saw an opening and exploited it. So that’s another weapon for a side that, in the best parts of its season, had built its name around attractive, possession-based soccer. It looks like Torres will be a complement to that.
On Brad Evans playing many different positions:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player in MLS be as versatile, or as effective in that versatility, as Brad Evans. It says a huge amount about the man himself, the player he is and the mentality he brings. Clearly he was unhappy about having to move from central defense into midfield, but you want players to have a reaction like that when something goes against them. You want them to show that they care, and that passion clearly came through from Evans. He came out and produced fantastic performances in the last couple of games.
I think Brad is one of the most underrated talents around, and his versatility is a major reason why Seattle has been successful in the last few years.