MLS

Seattle Sounders v Real Salt Lake: Mastroeni lauds visitors' 'magic' mentality

By Sports Desk May 29, 2024

Pablo Mastroeni believes Real Salt Lake's "magic" mentality has helped them earn a reputation as comeback kings, though he is hoping for a more routine outing against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday.

RSL fought back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with FC Dallas last Saturday, having recovered from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to beat the Colorado Rapids 5-3 one week earlier.

Mastroeni's men are now unbeaten in 11 league games and sit four points clear at the top of the Western Conference standings ahead of their midweek visit to the improving Sounders.

"It's not a surprise to me that the guys, given the scoreline, stay in there and fight," said Mastroeni. "It's a testament to the group. 

"Everyone that's a part of this club has the same mindset, and I think when you're aligned in that way, magic like that happens. 

"Obviously, we don't want it to happen too often, but I think it just shows the mental fortitude of the group."

Seattle have recorded back-to-back 2-1 wins over Phoenix Rising in the U.S. Open Cup and St. Louis City in MLS, moving within reach of the playoff places after a tough start to the year.

Boss Brian Schmetzer knows they will have to be at their very best to get anything against RSL, though.

Speaking after Saturday's win in St. Louis, Schmetzer said: "They were a little unlucky not to get a goal at the end. Our luck is changing.

"There is some momentum building but Real Salt Lake are a good team. We have to back up a good performance with another good performance against Real Salt Lake."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Seattle Sounders – Jordan Morris

Morris has scored in consecutive regular-season games for the first time since early last season. 

He only has one streak of more than two straight games with a goal in MLS, finding the net in four appearances in a row between April and May 2016.

Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango 

Arango's 13 goals in MLS this season put him out on his own at the top of the goalscoring charts, two clear of Christian Benteke and Luis Suarez.

Four of those goals have come in RSL's last four games, with the team netting 12 times in that span.

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

Real Salt Lake extended their league-best unbeaten run to 11 regular-season games (seven wins, four draws) with their 3-3 draw at Dallas last Saturday. 

This is their longest single-season unbeaten run since a 12-match streak to begin the 2014 campaign, though that streak ended with a loss in Seattle in late May.

The Sounders have improved of late, winning consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time this year. An entertaining draw could be on the cards.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Seattle Sounders – 35.6%

Real Salt Lake – 36.6%

Draw – 27.8%

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