RSL primed for battle in Seattle

RSL primed for battle in Seattle

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - First place in the Western Conference is on the line when Real Salt Lake travels to Seattle to take on the Sounders Friday night.
SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - It's going to be a playoff type atmosphere Friday night in Seattle as Real Salt Lake takes on the surging Sounders with first place on the line in the Western Conference.

"This is just a huge, huge game," said defender Nat Borchers. "I can't think of a better game to have on national television and in front of 40,000 fans in Seattle. It's going to be fun."

"This is why we play the game," added defender Tony Beltran. "We want to play in these big games. We want to make big plays, take the moment and make it our own. It makes it exciting that there is going to be 40,000 plus people and the way the standings are."

Seattle has won seven of its last eight matches, and had climbed to within two points of RSL in the race for the Supporters' Shield. The Sounders also have two games in hand on RSL, so Friday night's tilt is especially big for Real.

"They're a very dangerous team without question," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "They're a team that is playing very well right now, so it will be difficult circumstances."

"You just don't go to Seattle, play a game and not have a great atmosphere," said head coach Jason Kreis. "It's always a terrific crowd there with extremely noisy and passionate fans. It's a place where our guys feel great about going to. They always rise to the occasion."

RSL has won two matches against Seattle this season, both at Rio Tinto Stadium. But this will be their first look at U.S. Men's National Team star Clint Dempsey, who signed a big contract with Seattle in August. Seattle is 4-0 since Dempsey joined the team.

"Ya, Dempsey's an OK player," Kreis said with a smirk. "We'd have to quanitify him as a little bit special. I do think he changes things."

Dempsey, who played all 90 minutes in USA's win over Mexico on Tuesday, may not play the entire match against Real. But he exemplifies the big spending team the Sounders have turned into. With the likes superstars like Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans and Steve Zakuani, the Sounders have the second highest payroll in MLS, nearly triple of RSL's salary.

"I don't think there is any doubt about it," Kreis said. "On paper, Seattle is a better team than us for sure. On paper and with their bank accounts, they're a better team than us. But, we'll see. You have to put that performance on the field and you have to show it over 90 minutes."

"We're on top of the league, so it doesn't matter," said Beltran. "They can spend however much money they want. We've got quality players out here that can play with them. If you put anybody out there, I'll put our team up against them."

The battle in Seattle starts at 8:00 p.m. Friday night.

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