MLS

Real Salt Lake v Seattle Sounders: Schmetzer enjoying playoff pressure

By Sports Desk May 15, 2024

Seattle Sounders visit Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake in midweek and Brian Schmetzer is enjoying the challenges of chasing an MLS playoff spot.

The visiting Sounders have two wins and a draw in their last three outings after defeating Portland Timbers 2-1 on the road.

Seattle sit 10th in the West, just three points shy of St. Louis City above them, and Schmetzer knows the pressure is there to chase a postseason position.

"We're three points from the playoff line, that pressure is still there," said Schmetzer.

"We're still too far down the standings for our liking. But you go to Philly and get points, you come here [to Portland] and get points.

"You have 120 minutes of kids gritting it out [in the U.S. Open Cup]. I can sense that the group is finding its form."

Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan added: "We feel we definitely have a good enough team to compete for trophies this year."

The hosts are unbeaten in their last eight league matches, sitting top of the West standings by two points heading into this midweek clash.

Pablo Mastroeni's side were held to a 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy in their last outing, with this now the chance to respond on home turf.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango

Cristian Arango scored both of Real Salt Lake’s goals on Saturday to take his total to 11 for the season.

Only five players have scored more than 11 goals in a season for RSL, including just one, Damir Kreilach (twice), since 2015.

Seattle Sounders – Raul Ruidiaz

Raul Ruidiaz scored the winning goal for Seattle against Portland on Sunday, his seventh goal of the season, and the fifth different game he's scored in.

The Sounders have collected 10 points (W3 D1 L1) in the five games in which Ruidiaz has scored compared to three points (W0 D3 L4) in the seven he hasn't.

MATCH PREDICTION – REAL SALT LAKE WIN

Salt Lake are unbeaten in 13 straight regular-season home matches against Seattle (W10 D3) with the Sounders' only ever league win at RSL coming in 2011.

RSL has had just one longer home unbeaten run against a single opponent, going 18 in a row at home against the Colorado Rapids without losing from 2007—19, making them the favourites for this clash.

Yet Seattle have won consecutive away matches for the first time since March-April last season.

The Sounders scored five times in those matches after scoring just four in their first five on the road this season, suggesting goals are on the cards here.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Real Salt Lake win – 40.3%

Seattle Sounders win – 30.1%

Draw – 29.6%

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