Real Salt Lake semifinal: In first half, Seattle was the 63%
Seattle • With Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers on the mend with leg injuries, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis was forced to make a few adjustments against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday.
One of the most consequential moves was shifting Chris Wingert from the outside to center back, where he started with Chris Schuler. Wingert was tested early in the first half.
Wingert had played the position in the past, but the 5-foot-11 defender doesn't match physically with either Olave or Borchers, both of whom combine height with muscular size.
Schuler, who substituted for Olave in the 3-0 victory during the opening leg of the Western Conference semifinals at Rio Tinto Stadium, is 6-foot-4.
Olave stands 6-foot-3 and Borchers 6-foot-2.
Tony Beltran, who had not played in six weeks because of injury, took Wingert's spot on the outside.
"Set pieces are slightly different because you are usually marked up with a man, " Wingert said. "It's more of a one-on-one thing. Throughout the run of play, determining your positioning, where you need to be and communication with the guys around you is different playing in the middle as opposed to the outside."
Wingert's experience playing the middle has been limited since joining RSL in 2007 from the Colorado Rapids, where he did play more center back.
"The position is different, the timing is a little bit different," Wingert said. "My mentality will have to be a little bit different."
Sounders' Rosales out
The Sounders' offense received a blow prior to kickoff with the confirmation that MVP candidate Mauro Rosales would not play. The creative midfielder re-injured his left knee in the regular-season finale and missed the opening game in Sandy.
Rosales suffered an MCL sprain Sept. 14 against DC United. The Sounders were 10-1-2 in games when Rosales scored or had an assist. He had a team-record 13 assists in 2011, as well as five goals.