The Seattle Sounders will host Real Salt Lake on Saturday (2 p.m. PT; JOEtv, Univision, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) trying to snap a three-game losing slide. Here are three matchups to watch:
Osvaldo Alonso vs. Albert Rusnak
Osvaldo Alonso missed the Sounders’ loss at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday with right quad tightness, but it does not appear to be too serious and he very well could return on Saturday. If he does play, he will get his first look at RSL’s new Designated Player Albert Rusnak, a 22-year-old Slovakian playmaker who pulls the strings offensively. Rusnak has three goals and four assists this season, including a beautiful strike in RSL’s 2-1 midweek win over New York City FC.
Nicolas Lodeiro vs. Kyle Beckerman
The opposing battle between No. 10 Nicolas Lodeiro and defensive midfielder Kyle Beckerman also figures to be a fascinating one. Beckerman has been one of the most bruising No. 6s in MLS over the past decade and his main defensive responsibility will be agitating and disrupting the play of Lodeiro in the final third. Seattle’s offensive efficiency will be largely determined by who gets the better of this matchup.
Joevin Jones vs. Luke Mulholland/Chris Wingert
The Sounders’ left back returns on Saturday after serving a one-game suspension against Sporting KC. Seattle was far more compact with Oniel Fisher, who returned after missing more than a month with a hamstring injury, at left back, and should have more opportunities to attack down the left flank with Jones in the lineup. RSL right midfielder Luke Mulholland and right back Chris Wingert will need to keep Jones in check, or it may be a long trip back to Utah.