Real Salt Lake immediately took control of the match, keeping Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller occupied in the early moments of the game. Keller was able to keep Real Salt Lake at bay for a majority of the first half, but forward Alvaro Saborío eventually broke through in the 41st minute, tapping a pass into Seattle’s post. Saborío looked offside on the scoring play, but the lineman thought otherwise.
Saborío struck again early in the second half, finishing a Javier Morales pass with his back heel. Midfielder Ned Grabavoy sealed the deal for Real Salt Lake in the 87th minute, intercepting a pass and putting it back into the Sounders’ post.
The Sounders were without midfielder Mauro Rosales in their first game of the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs, and the Argentinean’s playmaking abilities were certainly missed by his teammates who struggled offensively against Real Salt Lake. The Sounders had trouble moving the ball up the field, finishing the game with only four shots on goal.
Both teams will meet again on Nov.2, for the second leg of their first round encounter. The Sounders will get to play at CenturyLink Field this time around, but they’ll have to win big to make it to the Western Conference finals. Mauro Rosales should be able to suit up for the second leg against Real Salt Lake, and the Sounders will need all the help they can get from him.