Real Salt Lake begins the Major League Soccer playoffs with a two game series against the Seattle Sounders at Century Link Field in Washington. This is the second consecutive year RSL has played Seattle at the start of the playoffs.
Last year, RSL won the two game series by defeating Seattle 3-0 at home and then losing to them 0-2 in Washington. The team won the series tiebreaker by scoring a higher number of goals.
Coach Jason Kreis of RSL is confident his team will advance again this year, but he understands Seattle will not be easy to defeat.
“We are two very evenly matched teams,” Kreis said. “I’m excited for what lies ahead. It’s a terrific match up and it will be a terrific series.”
No matter what the outcome this week, the two teams will play again at Rio Tinto Stadium next Thursday.
RSL enters the playoffs with a strong defense, which has had eight shutout games and only given up three goals in the last 11 matches.
Will Johnson, a forward with RSL, is confident in his team and proud of the defense.
“We feel we have guys who can score goals,” Johnson said. “We have some room for improvement but I am satisfied with our performance and satisfied with our defensive effort.”
RSL’s defensive effort last week kept the Vancouver Whitecaps from scoring and ended the game 0-0.
Although RSL did not counter with any goals during the game, Kreis stays optimistic.
“We need to focus on the positives right now,” Kreis said. “There was a lot of good things that went into that game. I really appreciate the guys spirit and effort that they are putting in right now. All we need to do is continue to believe.”
Kreis hopes that belief will bring RSL a win this weekend.
The game starts this Friday at 8:00 p.m. in the Century Link Field in Seattle and can be seen nationally on the NBC Sports Network.