SANDY, Utah — The two hottest teams in Major League Soccer will square off at Rio Tinto Stadium tonight when Real Salt Lake hosts Seattle Sounders FC.
RSL sits in second place in the Western Conference and just one point back of leaders FC Dallas after putting together a 7-1-1 stretch in all competitions since the start of May.
Seattle got off to a poor start with only two points from its first five games this season, but the club’s current form has helped the Sounders climb to fifth in the Western table after a run of six wins in eight fixtures.
These two teams met in the fourth week of the season while Seattle was mired in its slump, and the Sounders left Rio Tinto with a 2-1 defeat.
But Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid is convinced that his team’s mentality is very different from the first meeting this season.
“We’re more confident now than when we played them the last time,” Schmid said. “We’ve got some guys who feel good about putting the ball in the back of the net and that’s a situation we weren’t having.”
In fact, the Sounders have tallied 16 goals in their last seven MLS matches, and despite trailing Salt Lake by six points ahead of Saturday’s game, the Sounders still have three games in hand on their opponents.
Salt Lake is also in the midst of a bit of a scoring binge having outscored its last four opponents by a combined total of 11-3.
Midfielder Javier Morales has played a big role in the recent surge with a goal and four assists in that span, and RSL is 6-2-2 since he returned to the lineup on April 13.
RSL is coming off its first bye week of the season after a busy stretch of games in the month of May. And while the rest is good, Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert is also wary of his team becoming complacent.
“We’ve had a ton of games in a short amount of time and we got a few days off which was really nice,” Wingert said. “But at the same time we’ve got to make sure that we’re not getting complacent coming off a bye week. We know it’s going to be an extremely tough challenge. Seattle has been playing well.”