The Seattle Sounders fell 3-0 in a frustrating match against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night.
Seattle looked solid in the opening minutes of the first half, but a deflected goal from Sam Johnson in the 25th minute saw momentum swing heavily in the hosts favor. Looking to claw back into the match, the Rave Green controlled much of the second half, only for RSL to double their advantage as Albert Rusnák scored a powerful shot in the 76th minute. The Sounders continued to push forward in the late stages of the match, leading to Corey Baird adding a third from a counter-attack in the closing minutes.
Facing a resolute RSL defense, the Sounders were restricted to only a handful of half-chances throughout the course of the match.
The Sounders face a quick turnaround, as the team heads to Southern California this weekend for a match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday (7:00 p.m. PT; ESPN 2, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM).
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One bright spot from the match was the return of right back Kelvin Leerdam, who made his first start since the team’s loss against the Portland Timbers on July 21. The attacking outside back, who has five goals and two assists this season, offered his usual blend of security comfort in possession and quality service in the final third. In the second half, defensive midfielder Gustav Svensson also made his first appearance since the Portland match. The team has been hampered by injuries in recent weeks, so the return of two top players should help down the homestretch.
REGROUP FOR SATURDAY
The team faces another difficult test on Saturday, as they’ll face the LA Galaxy at Dignity Healthy Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Kim Kee-hee, who missed the RSL clash through yellow card accumulation, will help bolster the backline, while Jordan Morris should provide a spark in the attack after not starting in Utah. Seattle will need a much stronger start against the Galaxy as they look to score early while containing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristian Pavón.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
In addition to the match against the Galaxy on Saturday, the Rave Green will play one more road fixture, away to the Portland Timbers on August 23, before finally returning to the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field on September 1. With four of their final matches of the 2019 season coming at home, the Sounders will need to turn CenturyLink Field into a fortress once again.