Real Salt Lake Bracing For Emotional Encounter Against Sounders In Elimination Contest

Nov 22, 2021, 12:12 PM
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake understands the difficulties of playing away from home, and sadly, if they hope to secure silverware in 2021 they will have to notch four consecutive road wins to do so.

The Emotional Rollercoaster

Playing on the road is an interesting experience.

You play on the same sized pitch, with the same sized ball, against the same number of opposition as you would at home. It’s just, instead of the thousands in attendance cheering you on, you’re often met with boos and disdain which has proven over hundreds of years to have a serious emotional effect.

That is what Real Salt Lake is bracing for. An emotional game against a very, very good team.

“As somebody who remembers experiencing it as a player, the emotional side of the game is incredibly difficult to overcome for away teams. Playing in front of your home fans provides you with an emotional edge,” Mastroeni said in his final press conference before the road contest against Seattle.

Real Salt Lake will be tasked with an almighty challenge. The Sounders boast one of the more formidable fan bases in the entire league. Lumen Field has a capacity of 72,000 and although it is not expected to be filled, it will not be far off. Seattle consistently has 50,000 plus fans in attendance for playoff games.

Communication Concern

Communication has been an issue for Real Salt Lake this season. Aaron Herrera and Mastroeni have both previously admitted that the communication on the pitch has not been good enough for Real Salt Lake. That will obviously need to improve if Real Salt Lake hopes to have any chance of upsetting the second-seed.

What better way to fix a communication concern than in front of 50,000 frantic Sounders fans.

Replicate SKC

Real Salt Lake will be looking to replicate their efforts in Kansas City on decision day, Damir Kreilach noted during recent media availability suggesting that RSL will embark on the 4-2-3-1 formation in an attempt to slow the game down.

Real Salt Lake does not want to get into a track meet with Seattle, who pride themselves on cutting open their opposition with their swift counter-attacking ability. However, RSL is also looking to capitalize in transition.

It is likely, given recent history, that Seattle will dominate the time of possession and tempo of the game. That should not worry RSL fans, however, as Mastroeni emphasized that Seattle’s ball possession will mean nothing if they cannot do anything with it.

Real Salt Lake will look to stay in the contest for as long as possible, then at the death throw numbers forward in an attempt to steal the win. Just like they did against Sporting Kansas City a few weeks ago.

If Real Salt Lake can frustrate Seattle and defend with shape and structure, the home-field advantage may slowly diminish as the game continues. If Real Salt Lake can quieten the crowd, they will only increase their chances of winning.

Match Info

Real Salt Lake will next travel to Seattle for a date with Freddy Juarez and the Sounders. The single-elimination game will be a part of the first round of the MLS Playoffs with the winner advancing while the loser is eliminated.

The kick-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on November 23rd and will be broadcast via FS1.




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