Neither the Seattle Sounders nor Real Salt Lake will be at full strength in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday. The Sounders are without Mauro Rosales, while RSL is missing Fabian Espindola for the starting lineup.
In one of the biggest games in Sounders history, head coach Sigi Schmid has decided to give midfielder Mario Martinez his first-ever MLS start. The Honduran international made a couple starts for the Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League play, but only played about 45 minutes during the regular season. He's now starting in place of Rosales, who has been dealing with a hamstring issue.
While Rosales traveled, he was apparently not healthy enough to make the 18. The Sounders do get a bit of a boost from the return of Eddie Johnson, who was unable to play in the first leg.
RSL starters: GK: Nick Rimando; DF: Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; MF: Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Chris Johnson; FW: Paulo Jr., Alvaro Saborio. RSL bench: Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Yordany Alvarez, Luis Gil, Jonny Steele, Kyle Reynish, Kenny Mansally, Fabian Espindola.
Sounders starters: GK: Michael Gspurning; DF: Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Busch; MF: Christian Tiffert, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mario Martinez; FW: Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson. Sounders bench: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Steve Zakuani, David Estrada, Sammy Ochoa.