For both Real Salt Lake and the Sounders, this weekend's match in Utah is vital to regaining the swagger of just a few weeks ago.
RSL's season-long road woes continued last week as they fell to the Chicago Fire 1-0, a game meant to be a building block from their previous match, a 4-2 comeback win at home against FC Dallas; providing more evidence that they are the most schizophrenic team in all of MLS, the attacking pressure that RSL demonstrated in the win was visibly lacking in the loss.
Seattle has also gone through a recent rough stretch: two straight 4-0 losses, a league match against Western Conference bottom-dwellers San Jose and a friendly against Barcelona—Maybe Kasey Keller and Freddie Ljungberg are suffering from post-All Star game issues?
Each club needs a win: RSL to keep their playoff hopes alive, and Seattle to not go into a season-ending slump.
RSL would seem to have the upper hand.
They have played extremely well at home this season, scoring four times as much as they have on the road. Lately, Nick Rimando has also played extremely well on the defensive side, his lone goal against at Chicago coming on a lack of concentration by RSL's defense.
However, Seattle is coming into a great situation. All their major weapons are available for this game, while RSL will possibly be missing two important cogs in Yura Movsisyan (out) and Robbie Russell (doubtful).
In the only other meeting between the clubs, the Sounders came away with a 2-0 victory in Seattle during the team's amazing season-opening streak.
The question comes down to whether RSL can keep the home magic going and play solid soccer for 90 minutes or if Seattle can score some goals and limit RSL's scoring chances.
This should be an exciting match of two teams looking to restore some pride.