After another strong basic series, the Seattle Sounders are back in the MLS Cup playoffs, securing seed No. 2 in the Western Conference. The team will host No. 7-seed Real Salt Lake for the first round of the postseason Tuesday night in Seattle when the Sounders look to reclaim the cup.
Here’s what you need to know about the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs …
When is kick off? Tuesday, November 22, 22:30 (ET)
Where is the match played? Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
Which TV channel is it on? FS1, Fox Deportes
What streaming is it on? Fox Sports App
Seattle Sounders FC host Real Salt Lake on Tuesday / Steph Chambers / GettyImages
The Sounders led the Western Conference for much of the regular season before falling behind the Colorado Rapids and finishing in second place to end the campaign in 2021. The team has not won since October 9 and has recorded a record of 0-3-3 during that the time.
Regardless of the latest trends, Sounders is ready to compete for the 2021 MLS Cup after falling to Columbus Crew in the cup final in 2020 and a difficult end to the regular season.
“The team has overcome a lot of setbacks,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer. “I will continue to tell you, MLS is a tough league … It was not lost for me, it is not lost for those players, that we have put ourselves in a relatively good position to take us deep into the playoffs. “
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa led the team on Tuesday / David Berding / GettyImages
Real Salt Lake were on the outside looking into Decision Day, sitting two points below the playoff line and needing a win to qualify. Thanks to a goal in the last second from Damir Kreilach to give the team a 1-0 win over rival Sporting KC, the team qualified for the playoffs.
Now officially in the off-season, Real Salt Lake faces a long task to beat the Sounders. But the team is convinced it can compete with Seattle.
“Right now we have more faith than ever. A game like the one in Kansas City really brings together everyone in the club, not just the players,” said Kreilach at SiriusXM FC’s Counter Attack. “We have all felt the energy of the fans through both good and bad times and right now you really feel the faith in everyone who is with this club. We will bring all that conviction to Seattle. ”
Seattle: Frei; Tolo, Arreaga, Gomez, Smith, Rowe; Paulo, A. Roldan, C. Roldan; Lodeiro, Ruidiaz
Salt lake: Ochoa; Chang, Silva, Glad, Brody; Rusnak, Luiz, Ruiz; Menendez, Rubin, Kreilach
The Sounders have had a slight lead over Real Salt Lake since joining MLS in 2009, leading the series through 16-14-6. The two teams shared the 2021 season series, with Seattle winning 2-1 at Lumen Field on June 23 and RSL winning 1-0 on September 18 in Utah.
The Seattle Sounders entered the season as MLS Cup favorites after losing in the cup final a season ago, and the team has a great chance to avenge last season’s disappointment this year. While Real Salt Lake caught fire towards the end of the season, the Sounders have been much more consistent throughout the year, despite a less than ideal end to the year. Consistency and experience are the winners in the playoffs, and Seattle has both of these in abundance. The Sounders have won 16 straight home playoff games, and that series does not end on Tuesday.
Prediction: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Real Salt Lake