Real Salt Lake will seek a win against Seattle Sounders at home in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals after a scoreless draw last week at the Century Link Stadium in Washington. Since the last game had no points, RSL will need a definitive win against the Sounders tonight in order to advance to the Western Conference Final series on Nov. 11.
If both teams remain tied after the 90 minutes, there will be a 30-minute extra time period added and, if the draw continues after the time runs out, the winner will then be determined by penalty kick shootouts.
RSL will have to rely upon their goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who had an exceptional game against Seattle last week, to keep the Sounders from scoring.
Rimando, who suffered a face laceration and a broken nose during the game, had five saves overall and was able to keep the score at 0-0.
“You don’t want to be the first team to give up a goal because momentum shifts really quick,” Rimando said. “We pride ourselves on defense not just in the playoffs but it matters now and our guys are in tuned and focused.”
Playing the Sounders this season has been difficult for RSL because the two teams are so evenly matched. RSL Coach Jason Kreis understands you need great defense to keep your opponents momentum down.
“You know that all the games are going to be low scoring and really tight,” RSL Coach Jason Kreis said. “If you’re allowing opponents a lot of chances and getting scored on a lot going into this time of the season, I think you have very little chance to succeed. I feel like we are in the exact right spot we need to be.”
RSL may run into trouble tonight because Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson, who had been out the last two weeks due to a hamstring injury, is projected to play. Johnson has been one of the lead scores for the Sounders and could stop RSL from a victory tonight.
“Obviously Eddie is a fantastic dynamic player for them,” Rimando said. “But, again, we have to be prepared for Seattle because they have a lot of special players. We have to make sure that we are ready and focused the full 90 minutes.”
Kreis feels everything to know about Johnson and Seattle is already known.
“We expect Eddie to play so we will have our guys prepare for that,” Kreis said. “There are no secrets anymore. We’ve played each other enough times and seen all of our players that I think we all know what to expect from each other.”
RSL will play Seattle Sounders at the Rio Tinto Stadium tonight at 8:00 p.m. and it can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network.