Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Salt Lake travels to CenturyLink Field on Saturday to face Seattle Sounders FC in a meeting of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Seattle enters the contest two points clear of RSL, with the Sounders having won six of their last eight fixtures.
Salt Lake, meanwhile, is the only unbeaten team still remaining in MLS and can set the record for most games without a loss to start a season if the team can avoid defeat in Seattle on Saturday.
These two teams know each other quite well after squaring off in the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup playoffs, although both sides will be missing important players for this clash.
Seattle will be without leading scorer Clint Dempsey as well as defender DeAndre Yedlin, who are both away on international duty with the United States national team.
And while the absence of those two players changes the equation for the Sounders, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar has a potential shortage of healthy attackers to overcome.
Salt Lake will be missing goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman, which is significant enough. But Cassar may have only one healthy striker for Saturday's match in the form of Olmes Garcia.
Top option Alvaro Saborio will miss the next 3-4 months after breaking his foot in training with Costa Rica's national team, while Joao Plata injured his hamstring in a 0-0 draw with FC Dallas last weekend and is unlikely to feature.
Cassar also has both Robbie Findley and Devon Sandoval returning from recent surgeries, and it is questionable whether either will be fit enough to play on Saturday.
Seattle will feel it has a good chance to claim three points at home after notching a 2-2 draw at Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver last time out.
Without Dempsey and Yedlin, the Sounders fell behind 2-1 in the 66th minute to a goal from Gershon Koffie, only for Gonzalo Pineda to rescue a point with his goal eight minutes from time.
Despite the fact that both sides are missing such important players, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid still believes Saturday's match is a special one considering where both teams find themselves in the table.
"We're missing some people. They're missing some people. I think they're still a good team," Schmid said. "It's the top two teams in the league, so it should be a great game."
05/30 12:35:08 ET