On Saturday evening, Real Salt Lake will play host to the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium. Following a dramatic win against the Earthquakes last time out, the hosts return home to try and make it two in quick succession, while the visitors look to record yet another win as they attempt to return to the top of the Western Conference.
This will be the second renewal of this fixture this season. Back in June, Real Salt Lake returned from Seattle empty handed having lost by two goals to one.
Real Salt Lake – Struggling for consistency
Salt Lake is a more than capable side, one that ought to make the postseason, but if they don’t it will probably be because of a lack of consistency. Last time out, Saturday’s hosts fought hard to get the job done on the road, scoring four goals in the process, but they can’t seem to do it on a regular basis. Only once since May have the boys from Utah won back-to-back.
Fortunately, this game is at home, which is where the hosts have got into something of a consistent flow of late, winning each of their last four, while they’re now unbeaten in five at Rio Tinto Stadium. Such a recent record should fill the home locker room with much-needed confidence ahead of a game against one of the best teams in all of Major League Soccer.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
with best odds
Seattle Sounders – Expert travellers
Nobody travels like Seattle, plain and simple. For many teams, playing on the road is tough, but not for the Sounders, who have the best away record in MLS this season. Saturday’s visitors have lost just one out of ten away from the comforts of home, winning seven of the other nine. Not only have they picked up more travelling points than any other team in the Western Conference, but they’re the only team to pick up more than 2.00 points per game, averaging no less than 2.30. Some teams just know how to get the job done, and Brian Schmetzer’s wiley group fits firmly into that category. They’re winners, there’s no two ways about it.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
Expert Pick #1 – Seattle Sounders to [email protected]+230
Seattle can’t keep picking up outstanding results on the road until the season closes, they will get it wrong at some point, but it’s hard to go against them here, especially at odds that appear to be on the generous side.
It would be wrong to say that RSL is poor at home, because that’s not the case but are they good enough to warrant strong favouritism against the Sounders. For my money, absolutely not. The visitors have a better habit of grinding out results and with their sturdy back-line, which conceded less than a goal per game on the road, they’re supported to dig deep and edge ahead once more.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 2.5 Goals @-115
If siding with an away win isn’t for you, then take ‘Under 2.5 Goals’. Relatively speaking, both teams have defended well in their respective home and away matches. The hosts have the fourth-best defensive record at home in the west, conceding just one goal per game on average, while they’re the second best team in the division when it comes to expected goals against, surrendering a pleasing average of just 0.92.
Likewise, the Sounders have conceded fewer away goals than any other Western Conference team, shipping an average of 0.8. They’ve also only scored more than once in four out of ten on the road, while less than three goals have been scored in six of those ten, so it would be little surprise if a relatively low-scoring game took place at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Expert Pick #3 – Raul Ruidiaz to Score @+180
If you’re looking for a player prop, then look no further than the visiting marksman Raul Ruidiaz, who looks a great price to make the difference in what ought to be a tight game. Seattle’s main man is a constant threat. He has no fewer than 14 goals in Major League Soccer this season, while he averages an impressive 0.61 expected goals per 90, not to mention 3.53 shots per 90. Such figures point towards odds of +180 being slightly on the large side.
Rio Tinto Stadium isn’t an easy place to go to, but we’re not talking about ordinary visitors. The Sounders know how to get it done under tough conditions and for all the hosts are useful, the visitors should have enough to take the spoils, though there’s plenty to suggest that they’ll do so in low-scoring fashion.