Real Salt Lake seeks another win over Sounders

SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake appears to finally have plugged up some of the holes on defense plaguing the club earlier in the season.

Salt Lake has won back-to-back matches for the first time this season.

Now RSL looks to make it three straight wins when the Seattle Sounders travel to Utah on Saturday.

This is the second consecutive weekend the two clubs will square off. Salt Lake claimed a 1-0 victory at Seattle a week ago, claiming its first road win of 2018.

RSL (6-6-1) built momentum off the result with a 2-1 victory over Houston on Wednesday. The victory pushed Salt Lake into fifth place in the Western Conference standings.

“We’ve been marking this on our schedule.” Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said after Wednesday’s match. “To get that win last week and then with a chance with two at home, this week was super-important to climb up the ladder.”

Salt Lake has been nearly unstoppable at home.

Since losing their home opener to Los Angeles FC, RSL has ripped off five straight wins in Rio Tinto Stadium. They allowed only four goals over those five matches after yielding five to LAFC back in March.

That will make getting a positive result more difficult for a reeling Seattle team.

The Sounders (2-6-2) are tied for last place in the Western Conference. An inability to generate offense has been the biggest issue behind the club’s plunge into the cellar.

Seattle has scored just seven goals in 10 matches, six fewer than the closest MLS team up to this point in the season. The Sounders have been on the wrong end of seven clean sheets and have scored just two goals in their last five matches.

The latest loss, to RSL, offered the final straw to a discouraging May. It offered a snapshot of Seattle’s struggles to generate any sort of attack to match a solid defense that’s allowed only 12 goals up to this point in the season.

“Frustrating,” Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei said after Saturday’s match. “Another lost opportunity to get three points and potentially gain some confidence. And at home, which is very frustrating.”

Salt Lake holds a 10-9-4 advantage in the all-time series.

RSL has won in each of the last two meetings with Seattle. The Sounders have dropped six straight matches in Utah. Their most recent road win in the series came via a 1-0 result in the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs.