It's a battle for first place, and an early one -- although the actual first kick is probably going to be closer to 11:50 because of NBCSN pregame. Here is our preview story, and below some basics:
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (13-6-2; 41 POINTS)AT REAL SALT LAKE (10-4-9; 39 POINTS)11:30 a.m., Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah.TV: NBCSN. RADIO: 97.3 FM.HEAD TO HEAD: RSL leads the regular-season series 5-4-4 overall and 3-1-2 at home. The Sounders have won each of the last two meetings, including the May 31 match in Seattle, 4-0. The teams conclude this regular-season series Sept. 12 at CenturyLink Field.NOTES: This is a pairing of the top two teams in the MLS Western Conference. RSL would pass the Sounders with a win; however, Seattle has two games in hand. … RSL has made the playoffs for a league-high six consecutive seasons, while Seattle has qualified all five seasons since joining MLS. … Salt Lake is 6-1-5 at home, while Seattle is 5-3-2 on the road. … RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando last week set an MLS record with his 113th career shutout. Joao Plata leads the club with 10 goals, while Javier Morales leads with nine assists. Seattle’s leaders are Clint Dempsey with 10 goals; and Obafemi Martins and Gonzalo Pineda with six assists each. … RSL will be without forwards Jordan Allen (knee) and Alvaro Saborio (foot), midfielder John Stertzer (tibia) and defender Rich Balchan (adductor). U.S. national team midfielder Kyle Beckerman (feet) is doubtful. … Martins is out after receiving a red card in the league match against Houston last weekend. … Pineda and Morales are one yellow card away from suspension for accumulation. … Nine of RSL’s past 11 games have included either a red card or penalty kick. …The referee is Silviu Petrescu.QUOTABLE: “They come out and really just try to press the issue at the beginning of the game on their home field, and you have to be prepared for that. You sort of have to weather that storm, and then once you get through those first 15-20 minutes, then you can settle into your game.” – Seattle coach Sigi Schmid on playing at RSL NEXT: The Sounders return to league play at 7 p.m. Wednesday when the San Jose Earthquakes visit CenturyLink Field.