The Seattle Sounders are hosting Real Salt Lake on Wednesday (7 p.m. PT; JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM) in their second meeting of the 2020 MLS regular season. Here are three matchups to watch.
Shane O’Neill vs. Douglas Martínez
With Xavier Arreaga gone on international duty with Ecuador for CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualifying, O’Neill will likely slot in on the back line alongside Yeimar. O’Neill has made seven starts this season and will be tasked with Yeimar to slow down RSL forward Douglas Martínez. RSL signed the 23-year-old Honduran from their USL Championship side Real Monarchs last season and has solidified the starting forward role in Manager Freddy Juarez’s 4-2-3-1 formation. But despite 11 appearances, Martínez has failed to register a goal or an assist in 539 minutes this season. O’Neill & Co. will look to keep it that way.
Jordy Delem vs. Damir Kreilach
A theme in these matchups to watch is that the three Sounders will all be replacing missing internationals, as Delem will likely slot into central midfield in the stead of Gustav Svensson, who is away with Sweden for UEFA Nations League matches. Delem has a tall task awaiting him in Kreilach, a focal piece for RSL with six goals and an assist this season. The 31-year-old Croatian has the skills to act as a box-to-box midfielder, No. 10 and false 9, and with the absence of Designated Player Albert Rusnák, RSL’s attacking impetus will need to run through Kreilach. How well Delem can mitigate his impact will go a long way in securing three points.
Will Bruin vs. Marcelo Silva
Bruin earned his first start of the season on Sept. 27 when Raúl Ruidíaz was suspended, and now he’ll likely get the nod for the next few matches while the Peruvian is in South America for CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualifying. Bruin returns this year following an ACL tear last season, and he has looked every bit as dangerous as he was before despite just 219 minutes across nine appearances (including a goal in the knockout round of the MLS is Back tournament). His prime matchup will be veteran center back Silva, who starts on an RSL back line that’s allowed 24 goals in 15 matches.