The Seattle Sounders visit Real Salt Lake on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) in Week 24 MLS action. Here are three matchups to watch, presented by Toyota.
Nouhou vs. Jefferson Savarino
Real Salt Lake haven’t lost an MLS match since July 6, posting three wins and two draws and their last five league. While the foundation of their success has been a resolute defense, the individual brilliance of attacking players like Savarino has helped the team surge up the Western Conference standings. Savarino parlayed his breakout performance at Copa América into a rich vein of form with RSL, as the winger has recorded three goals and four assists from six starts since returning from the regional tournament.
A brilliant 1-v-1 defender, Nouhou will have his hands full on Wednesday as he squares off against Salt Lake’s tricky winger. If he can lockdown Savarino, he’ll nullify the hosts’ greatest attacking threat.
Nicolás Lodeiro vs. Kyle Beckerman
Wednesday’s fixture will also feature two iconic midfielders going toe-to-toe. Beckerman has been synonymous with RSL for years, while Lodeiro has helped overhaul the Sounders’ style of play since he entered the league in 2016. With Salt Lake looking to dictate tempo in front of their supporters at Rio Tinto Stadium, Lodeiros’ ability to find gaps in transition and thread through-balls will be paramount to Seattle picking up points. Moreover, if the Rave Green can get sustained possession, his off-the-ball movement will pull Beckerman away from the soft spot in front of RSL’s center backs.
Raúl Ruidíaz vs. Justen Glad
Real Salt Lake’s Homegrown defender has been integral to Salt Lake’s increased defensive solidity of late. An athletic, lanky center back that has solid instincts, Glad has made significant progress in 2019.
His development will be put to the test on Wednesday, as Ruidíaz is one of the most intelligent, ruthless strikers in MLS. The Peruvian forward thrives on finding tiny pockets of space in the final third and making late, incisive runs to get in front of defenders on low crosses. Glad has all the tools to be an elite defender, but Ruidíaz has the grizzled experience and nous to win his individual matchup with his younger counterpart.