Sounders' 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake was their fourth straight, seventh in their last eight matches, and moved their record to 14-8-4. That moved them past the Los Angeles Galaxy and into second place in the MLS Western Conference, two points behind league-leading Real Salt Lake -- who just happens to be their next opponent Friday at CenturyLink Field, which will be open to full capacity.
Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say about looking forward to that match:
“Certainly next Friday, for our fans, is going to be an absolutely massive game,” Schmid said. “When you look at it right now, it’s a game for first place. ... Hopefully, we can do what we did against Portland and sell this place out again and fill it up, because it’s a game you don’t want to miss.”On USMNT players returning:
“We’ll get Johnson and Dempsey back. We’ll see how many minutes they get on Tuesday against Mexico, what type of game it is, how physical it is, et cetera. They’re going to be flying across country on Wednesday, so we got to measure all of that as well. Certainly figuring that and maybe, keeping our fingers crossed, there’s an outside chance Brad (Evans) might get back on the field.”
“We always like playing at home, so playing home is certainly an important part for us. We have won in Salt Lake. We won in Salt Lake last year in the playoffs. We won there once in their undefeated home streak as well, so we know we can win there. The two times we’ve played there this year we haven’t played there up to our standards, so we’re going to be playing with our standards.”
“If you don’t look forward to these kind of games, why are we doing all of this? These are the games that you want. Somebody told me once when I left college coaching […] ‘Sigi, if you haven’t accepted the challenges that life brings with it, then life isn’t worth living.’ This game on Friday is one of those challenges and that’s what makes the difference. That’s what gets the blood going and it’s exciting and makes things happen. It’s such a massive game for our fans to come out and see. This is what you live for; this is why you do sports. This is why we try to strive to do well, so you get opportunities like this.”