After another strong regular season, Seattle Sounders are back in the MLS Cup Playoffs, securing the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The team will play host to No. 7 seed Real Salt Lake for the first round of the postseason Tuesday night in Seattle as the Sounders look to reclaim the Cup.
Here’s what you need to know about the opening round playoff fixture in the Western Conference…
When is kick off? Tuesday, November 22nd, 10:30 p.m. (ET)
Where is the match being played? Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
What TV channel is it on? FS1, Fox Deportes
What streaming is it on? Fox Sports App
The Sounders led the Western Conference for much of the regular season before falling behind Colorado Rapids and into second place to conclude the 2021 campaign. The team is winless since October 9th, posting a record of 0-3-3 in that span.
Regardless of recent trends, the Sounders are poised to compete for the 2021 MLS Cup after falling to Columbus Crew in the Cup Final in 2020 and a difficult finish to the regular season.
“The team has overcome a ton of adversity,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I’ll keep telling you guys, MLS is a hard league… It wasn’t lost on me, it’s not lost on those players, that we have put ourselves in a relatively good position to make a run deep in the playoffs.”
Real Salt Lake were on the outside looking in on Decision Day, sitting two points below the playoff line and needing a win to qualify. Thanks to a last-second goal from Damir Kreilach to give the team the 1-0 win over rival Sporting KC, the team qualified for the playoffs.
Now officially in the postseason, Real Salt Lake is faced with a tall task in beating the Sounders. But, the team is confident it can compete with Seattle.
“Right now, we have more belief than ever. A game like the one in Kansas City really brings everyone at the Club together, not just the players,” Kreilach said on SiriusXM FC’s Counter Attack. “We have all felt the fans’ energy through both the good times and the bad and right now you really feel the belief within everyone who is with this Club. We’re going to carry all of that belief with us into 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 edge on Real Salt Lake since joining MLS in 2009, leading the all-time series 16-14-6. The two sides split the season series in 2021, with Seattle winning 2-1 at Lumen Field on June 23rd, and RSL winning 1-0 September 18th in Utah.
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 far more consistent all year long, despite a less than ideal finish to the year. Consistency and experience are what wins out in the playoffs, and Seattle has both of those in droves. The Sounders have won 16 straight home playoff games, and that streak won’t end Tuesday.
Prediction: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Real Salt Lake