by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s not easy being green. Especially in Utah. As it turns out, points in the league are difficult to come by when we stride into the Rockies. Sounders FC and Salt Lake. The irresistible force, and the immovable object. We score a goal. They score a goal. We win a match. They win a match. They win a MLS Cup Quarter-Final tie. We win a MLS Cup Quarter-Final cup tie. Expect similar push/pull in this high-altitude showdown. Despite all this we must raise our voices together in song and support the lads. Let’s nick the points in a good auld-fashioned smash and grab. UP THE SOUNDERS!!!
The Good News
If you look at the overall numbers between the Sounders and Salt Lake, we’re not that far apart in terms of who has won more matches against each other. We’ve won six, they’ve won seven, and four drawn. So that’s something. We have enough experienced, battle-hardened, footballers to make a starting eleven. Many of the Salt Lake players that have scored goals against us no longer play for them. Salt Lake have been having just as much of a choppy run of form as we are. Perhaps worse. Demar Phillips of RSL and Jamaica is out due to suspension. As he’s a good and experienced defender, his absence favours our lads. There are a number of young players in the Sounders squad waiting for their chance to prove themselves. Today would be a good day for them to shine.
The Bad News
The Sounders match record at State Street, UT is not great. We’ve won only once and drawn twice in eight matches. So it’s a hard row to hoe. Fortunately, our Sounders are an elite MLS side. The altitude is 4500’. Though not as intimidating as Azteca, it’s still something to prepare for, so lads – lean over when you strike the football. RSLs line-up is stoked with experience and players that have won honours. RSL players most likely to score on us are: Morales, Mulholland, Martínez, Movsisyan, and Plata. All experienced and skillful with Movsisyan particularly deadly in front of goal. RSL player most likely to have a go at one of ours: Morales or Beckerman. The frequency of disciplinary events in matches between our two sides is 3.6 per match. There will be bookings.
The MLS page has both Roman Torres and Brad Evans on injury list. This will stretch our cover at the back quite thin. Marshall and Mears are up to the task and have the skill and experience to ably represent us. We can only hope that Joevin Jones and Remick or the new boy Tony Alfaro are up for a go as well. Fisher is also out, due to suspension and is thus unavailable for selection. RSL have no players on injury list.
RSL wing-back Tony Beltran used to play for UCLA back in his amateur days. Watched him play versus Stefan Frei and Cal at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley for $8. I got the better of that deal.
Selections for Last Match
Salt Lake: Rimando, Beltran, Olave, Maund, Phillips, Beckerman, Sunny, Martínez, Morales, Plata, Movsisyan.
Bench: Attinella (gk), Glad, Wingert, García, Mulholland, Sandoval, Allen.
Seattle: Frei, Fisher, Evans, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Roldan, Alonso, Morris, Ivanschitz, Dempsey, Valdez.
Bench: Miller (gk), Remick, Sturgis, Kovar, Anderson, Scott, Darwin Jones.
Seattle: Torres, Evans.
Seattle: Fisher (serious foul play).
RSL: Phillips (second caution).
Sounders legend Kasey Keller, through his own goal in 2011, has scored only one less goal against the Sounders than the top active scorers for Real Salt Lake have as Plata and Morales have only managed two each against us in league play.