About the Teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City has to be coming into this match feeling good about themselves. They are on a three-game unbeaten streak, coming off a wild victory on the road against Colorado in which they scored three run of play goals, including Dom Dwyer's stoppage time winner. More so than that, starting right back Chance Myers is predicted to be back in the lineup for this match after missing the first month of the season. It's the same situation with winger Soony Saad, plus the recently signed Toni might see some playing time as well. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler are coming off a national team match on Wednesday, but neither of them played the full match.
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake has had a tough slate to start the season but has made the most of it. They most recently knocked off the heavily hyped Toronto FC with a 3-0 decimation of the reinvigorated club. They'll come into this match with a squad missing Joao Plata and Chris Wingert, and three of their players, Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando, will be a little less fresh after playing for the national team Wednesday night. They come into this match ranked second in the Western Conference.
Who to Watch
Sporting Kansas City- Chance Myers
There's a chance that Myers will be back in the Sporting Kansas City lineup Saturday, which means that the formidable back line of the past couple of years will be complete for the first time all season. Kevin Ellis has been a decent backup but his youth and inexperience has shown in a lot of matches and Sporting has been burned on that side multiple times this season. With Myers back, Sporting KC will have a player who can handle the demands of the fullback position against top-level MLS teams, something they've needed all season long.
Real Salt Lake- Kyle Beckerman
Kyle Beckerman will be interesting to watch for a couple of reasons. The first reason is how good he is at what he does. He can hold down a midfield like nobody's business and can shut down attacks before they get to critical points. He will be charged to stopping the red-hot Benny Feilhaber and the Sporting KC attack before they get a chance to attack the very good Real Salt Lake back line. He's also someone to watch because of his involvement in the USMNT game Wednesday, where he played a significant amount of time before heading back to RSL. He shouldn't be any more tired than Zusi or Besler, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Why They'll Win
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting KC will win this match because of how their style of play clashes with Real Salt Lake's. Real Salt Lake will not be able to control the possession like they want to because Sporting KC will out-muscle the front line and will not allow Real Salt Lake to grab any real chances. This, and the fact that Wingert will be out for this match gives Sporting KC a real shot at disrupting play and using their own pressure filled style to attack the RSL back line and to force a goal or two in.
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake will win this match by taking advantage of Sporting KC's system. Sporting KC will try to pressure the RSL back line but they will have to stay back a bit to be wary of RSL's ability to counter. The away side plays some beautiful soccer and can orchestrate a counterattack so fast it will leave Sporting KC's head spinning. We saw them do it in the MLS Cup where they created several chances off of counters, so watch out for them to do the same here.
Sporting Kansas City: Kronberg - Myers, Collin, Besler, Sinvoic - Rosell, Nagamura, Feilhaber - Zusi, Bieler, Zizzo.
Real Salt Lake: Rimando - Beltran, Schuler, Borchers, Balchan - Beckerman - Gil, Grabavoy - Morales - Garcia, Saborio.
Sporting Kansas City 2-2 Real Salt Lake
This will be an intense affair with lots of drama, fouls and goals. In the end, these two teams will walk away as equals, hating each other more than before.