The Sounders have wrapped up their final practice session before their 1 p.m. Saturday match against RSL. The main news from Friday training was coach Sigi Schmid's report that defender Chad Marshall (illness) and forward/midfielder Lamar Neagle (hamstring) trained and appear available for the match.
Above is a scout report from MLSsoccer.com.
Below some preview notes from the Sounders:
The Home ShowSeattle's CenturyLink Field has remained one of the most difficult venues for opponents to play as Sounders FC has developed into the top home team in MLS this season. Sounders FC is the lone team to win five games at home this season, earning a league-best 15 points. Seattle's current four-game home winning streak is tied with New England for the longest this season, and is two short of the club-record six-match home winning streak (July 28-Sept. 13, 2013).
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Seattle's home dominance will be tested by a strong Salt Lake side that is yet to fall on the road, going 3-0-3 for the best road record in MLS. Currently riding a league-best six-game road unbeaten streak, RSL has won its past two road outings and has scored the most road goals (14) in MLS this season.
Going ForwardSeattle and Salt Lake's attacks feature two of the top players in MLS this season in Obafemi Martins and Joao Plata. In the absence of several national teamers, both Martins and Plata will look to lead their team's attack on Saturday. Martins is the MLS assists leader with six helpers and has added five goals, ranking second on Sounders FC. Plata, who left Saturday's match in the first half with a hamstring injury, ranks sixth in MLS with six goals and has added three assists.
A Look AheadSaturday's match against Real Salt Lake will conclude a strong month of May for Sounders FC. Seattle has posted a 3-1-1 record this month, including victories in all three home matches. The next contest is at Chicago on June 7, kicking off a three-game road streak with stops at D.C. United (June 28) and Vancouver (July 5). Seattle will take a 21-day break during the group stage of the FIFA World Cup as MLS will break from June 11-27.
A Familiar FoeSounders FC and Real Salt Lake have become familiar foes over the past six seasons, meeting 12 times in the regular season, four times in the MLS Cup Playoffs and once in the U.S. Open Cup. The 17 total meetings between the two sides are the second-most in club history, and Saturday's match will tie the most games against one opponent.
Series Fast Facts* RSL has outscored Seattle, 11-10, and holds the advantage in total shots, 149-117.
* Seattle is 2-2-2 at home in the regular-season series, outscoring RSL 5-3.
* Lamar Neagle (two goals) and Robbie Findley (3) are the active goal scoring leaders in the series.
* Seattle won the lone home meeting in 2013, 2-0 on September 13. The last home loss in the series came on May 12, 2012.
* The two sides met in the 2011 and 2012 Western Conference Semifinals, with Seattle ousting RSL in the 2012 series.
* Kenny Cooper leads all Sounders FC players with six career goals against RSL. A total of eight active Sounders FC players have scored against RSL.
About Real Salt LakeAt 6-0-6, Real Salt Lake is the last unbeaten team in MLS, marking the longest streak to open a season in the post-shootout era. The team's scoreless draw with FC Dallas on Saturday snapped a three-match winning streak in which RSL scored 10 goals. The Claret-and-Cobalt are 3-0-3 on the road with a 14-9 goal advantage, including a 1-0 win at Los Angeles to open the season and a 5-2 win at Houston earlier this month. Salt Lake ranks second behind Seattle with both 23 goals and 21 assists, as well as fifth with 43 shots on goal. RSL starts and finishes well, scoring 10 of its goals in the opening half hour (T-1st) and seven goals in the final 15 minutes (T-2nd).
RSL NotablesCoach Jeff Cassar's attack is led by Joao Plata, who leads the team with 15 points in 2014. Plata, an Ecuadorian international, is second on the team with three assists and has registered 10 goals and 12 assists in 38 appearances since the beginning of last season. Javier Morales leads the club and ranks second in MLS with five assists, bringing his career total to 58-tied-fifth among active players. The Argentine has added four goals this season-all in the last three games-including a hat trick in the 5-2 win at Houston on May 11. Second-year keeper Jeff Attinella will man the nets for RSL with Nick Rimando away on international duty. The University of South Florida-product has allowed three goals in four appearances this season, including two clean sheets.