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Seattle, RSL battle for first place

Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC will duel for first place in the Western Conference when the two sides meet at CenturyLink Field on Friday.

The Western Conference rivals enter the contest separated by just two points, though Seattle, occupying second place, holds two games in hand.

The Sounders have done well to ascend up the table in recent weeks, winning their last four regular season matches to improve to 46 points on the season. They claimed a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday thanks an 89th- minute own goal from Gonzalo Segares.

It looks likely that Seattle will enter Friday's clash with limited involvement from Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson as the duo featured for the United States national team on Tuesday. Head coach Sigi Schmid revealed that they probably won't start the match but that they could play a role off the bench if needed.

Even without Dempsey and Johnson, the Sounders still should give a good account of themselves as they have churned out some inspired defensive performances of late. Seattle has conceded just one goal over its current four-game winning streak, and Schmid's men will need to be solid at the back once again if they hope to contain a Salt Lake side that has exploded to score 11 goals over its last three league matches.

Real Salt Lake most recently edged the Portland Timbers in a 4-2 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on Aug. 30, the second straight match in which the Claret and Cobalt put four past their opponent. For head coach Jason Kreis, it was nice to see his side avoid a potential letdown following a 4-0 defeat of the Columbus Crew on Aug. 24.

"I really wasn't (worried), but typically I am," Kreis said after the match. "I think, right now, we're at that time of year where I don't think you have to be too worried about motivating the players or getting them to respond after too good of a game or too bad of a game. I think that we all know what's in front of us. The opportunity has presented itself for us, and I think that should mean that every game will get our maximum effort."

It will be interesting to see what type of role Kyle Beckerman plays for Real Salt Lake on Friday. The Salt Lake talisman enjoyed a 90-minute performance for the United States against Mexico on Tuesday, making his inclusion for the club's starting XI on Friday a doubt. But should Salt Lake get an edge, Beckerman could feature off the bench to add some professionalism and close out the match.

09/12 16:53:20 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 4
DUR 8
 
11:05am Today
CHR
DUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
Final
PIT 1
CIN 4
Final
CLE 2
KAN 8
Final
WAS 2
ANA 7
Final
TOR 9
BAL 3
Final
DET 8
CWS 6
Final
ATL 0
MIA 1
Final
TAM 7
MIN 3
Final
BOS 3
NYY 9
Final
NYM 0
STL 3
Final
CHC 9
ARI 2
Final
MIL 1
SDP 2
Final
COL 2
SFG 1
Final
OAK 4
TEX 5
Final
SEA 2
HOU 5
Final
LOS 2
PHI 3
12:10pm Today
ATL
MIA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
 
3:10pm Today
COL
SFG
 
3:35pm Today
OAK
TEX
 
3:40pm Today
SEA
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
MIN
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
IND 101
ATL 85
Final
TOR 100
BRK 95
Final
CHI 99
WAS 101
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
DAL
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
MON 4
TAM 3
Final
DET 0
BOS 3
Final
PHI 1
NYR 4
Final
LOS 3
SJS 4
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
9:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
Final
CHR 4
DUR 8
 
11:05am Today
CHR
DUR