Atop the league standings, Seattle Sounders FC returns home to host Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake in a nationally televised match Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Friday's match will be televised on NBC Sports Network, and can be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call. The match can also be heard in Spanish on ESPN Deportes 1490AM.
Sounders FC (16-7-3, 51 points) earned its third straight victory with last Wednesday's 4-2 road win over Chivas USA. Obafemi Martins and Andy Rose each scored first-half braces, as Martins now leads the team with 12 goals and nine assists.
Seattle now returns to CenturyLink Field, where it is unbeaten in the past three (2-0-1) outings. With just four home matches remaining, Sounders FC will look to earn at least two more wins to match the club record for most home wins (11) in a single season.
Friday's match will feature perennial power and 2013 MLS Cup runners-up Real Salt Lake (12-5-10, 46 points), who currently sit third in the Western Conference. RSL earned a late 2-1 home victory over FC Dallas on Saturday, benefitting from an Alvaro Saborio game-winner in the Costa Rican forward's first game back from injury.
The meeting will mark the third match between the two sides this season, with Seattle winning 4-0 at home before dropping a 2-1 road result last month. Following the match, Sounders FC will have seven regular season games remaining.
With a three-game road trip on the horizon, Sounders FC will travel to Philadelphia to face the Union in the U.S. Open Cup Final on September 16. The team will remain on the road for regular season matches at New York (September 20) and Dallas (September 24). Seattle will then return home to conclude the month against Chivas USA on September 27.
Tickets for Sounders FC home matches are available now at www.SoundersFC.com and 1-877-MLS-GOAL.
Top of the TableSounders FC continues to lead the way this season, sitting first in the full table for 18 of 26 weeks while boasting one of the league's most potent attacks. Seattle enters Friday's match with a two point lead over the LA Galaxy in the Supporters' Shield race, has amassed two more wins than any other MLS side, and has scored the second-most goals this season.
Club Record PaceAfter becoming the first team in MLS to hit the 50-point mark this season, Sounders FC is on pace to set several club records. Seattle's average of 1.96 points per game is the highest in club history, besting the 2011 average of 1.85. Sounders FC will need to earn 12 points from the final eight games to match the club record point total of 63. The team has already surpassed the win total from four of the previous five seasons, and is two wins from matching the club record. Seattle is also on pace to score the most goals in club history, averaging 1.85 goals per games, eight goals from matching the 56-goal output from the 2011 season.
Three Straight WinsSounders FC has returned to form, winning three straight games for the third time this season. After dropping four of six results from July 5 through August 16, Seattle has gone unbeaten in the past four (3-0-1) contests, including three consecutive wins by a combined score of 9-4. Sounders FC previously posted five straight wins from April 12-May 7, and three straight wins from May 31-June 28. Seattle's current three-game winning streak is the third-longest active streak behind the LA Galaxy (five straight wins) and New England Revolution (four).
Sounders at CenturyLinkUnbeaten in its past three home outings, Sounders FC returns to CenturyLink Field to host Real Salt Lake in the second home meeting of the season. Seattle leads the league with nine wins and just 11 goals allowed at home, and the team ranks fourth in MLS with 28 home points (9-3-1). Salt Lake has held strong on the road this season, going 4-4-5 for the fifth-highest road point total. After its six-game (3-0-3) road unbeaten streak to start the season was snapped in Seattle on May 31, RSL has gone 1-4-2 in its past seven away outings, including a 1-1 draw at San Jose in its last road trip on August 30.
Friday Night LightsThe upcoming match against Real Salt Lake marks the first Friday game of the season for Sounders FC. The team will also host Vancouver on Friday, October 10. Since 2009, Seattle has played six Friday games in regular season and postseason play, going 4-0-2. Sounders FC has twice hosted RSL in Friday games, including a scoreless draw in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs and a 2-0 win on September 13, 2013.