Sounders try to make it five for five
Sounders FC could become the third team in MLS history to earn 15 points in 15 days in Saturday's 7 p.m. home game against Real Salt Lake, joining the 1997 Los Angeles Galaxy and 2001 Miami Fusion.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Real Salt Lake
@ Sounders FC, 7 p.m., Ch. 5
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TUKWILA — Fifteen points in 15 days. Not possible, right?
It is for sizzling Sounders FC with a win in Saturday's 7 p.m. home game against Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake. Heading into a torturous stretch of five games in two weeks, coach Sigi Schmid never thought his team would have the chance to sweep the set.
"You hope in your dreams that you might be able to achieve that," said Schmid.
Only two MLS teams have made five wins in 15 days a reality: the 1997 Los Angeles Galaxy (Sept. 7-21) and the 2001 Miami Fusion (May 19-June 2).
Earning that achievement, Schmid said, "would be phenomenal."
History aside, motivation shouldn't be difficult to find for the Sounders, who are seeking a franchise-best sixth straight win. In a few short years, a rivalry with Real Salt Lake has already generated some bite.
For starters, RSL is the team that ended Seattle's playoff run last season. On the other hand, the Sounders ended Salt Lake's 29-game home unbeaten streak last May. The regular-season series is 2-2-2.
First place will also be on the line Saturday — RSL (7-3-2) has the most points in the league at 23, and Seattle (7-1-1) is tied for second with 22.
"If you can't get ready for this game and get motivated, maybe you're not alive," Schmid joked.
Will last year's playoff defeat come up before kickoff?
"Yeah, for sure," said forward Fredy Montero with a smile.
Montero said the main reason RSL feels like a rival is because the games always carry weight in the standings because Salt Lake is a perennial contender in the West. Schmid agreed.
"Any time you have two good teams playing each other and teams that want to compete for the top of the table, there's always going to be a little bit of rivalry," the coach said. "It's the same thing when you look at the (English) Premiership. ... Is Manchester United Arsenal's biggest rival? No, but it's a rivalry game.
"It's the same thing with us and Salt Lake. We're two teams that always want to be near the top of our division, and as a result of that there's a rivalry there. We know that we're going to run into each other in the playoffs. We did last year and we know there's a good chance it'll happen again this year."
Defender Zach Scott was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for a dangerous tackle in the second half of Wednesday's 2-0 win against FC Dallas. Seattle has had four players face retroactive punishment from the MLS Disciplinary Committee this season, twice as many as the next team.
Defender Leo Gonzalez also received a one-game suspension for a dangerous tackle. Forward Eddie Johnson (inappropriate gesture) and midfielder Alvaro Fernandez (embellishing contact) were issued fines.
"What's important in the whole process is that referees don't hide behind the disciplinary committee," Schmid said. "What I mean by that is, it's important that referees don't give a yellow (card) and not give a red (card) because they're thinking, 'Well, it's going to be reviewed anyway and they'll make that final decision, so I don't have to be the bad guy.' "
• Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez said he feels good and is "ready to go" after missing the past five games with a quadriceps strain. As of Friday's practice, Schmid said the team had yet to determine whether Fernandez would start or come off the bench Saturday.
• Defender Patrick Ianni underwent an MRI on Friday after aggravating a back injury this week.
• Montero won MLS goal of the week with 58 percent of the vote for his stunning, 35-yard blast in a 2-0 win against Los Angeles on May 2. It was the forward's first goal of the season after being shut out of the first six games. Montero scored his second and third goals Wednesday at Dallas.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.