Sporting Kansas City was finally able to have veteran forwards Alan Pulido and Johnny Russell and midfielder Ilie Sanchez start for the first time this season. Sporting KC also gave 19-year-old center back Kaveh Rad his first start.
Real Salt Lake controlled possession through much of the game but initially SKC was looking good on the counter and took the lead in the 17th minute.
“It was really good,” manager Peter Vermes told media post game when asked about Pulido’s goal. “Alan was actually excellent in the game. If I was him, I’d be incredibly frustrated because him and a few other guys wanted the ball. They wanted to play and they were trying. Again, to play at this level, you have to want the ball. Today, for some reason, with the mistakes that we made, (RSL) really, really hurt us.”
RSL leveled the game in the 35th minute when Homegrown Andrew Brody, who had subbed in for right back Aaron Herrera, lobbed a cross into the SKCs box. Damir Kreilach separated from SKC’s defense and easily knocked a header past Homegrown keeper John Pulskamp.
After coming out of the half even with one all, it did not take too long for Salt Lake to take the lead. Kreilach was the provider this time when he slid down the left side and sent a ball to the far post where Rubio Rubin was all by himself. Pulskamp came out to cut the angle but Rubin slid the ball under the lunging keeper to make it 2-1.
Rubin made the deficit even worse for SKC in the 77th, again with Kreilach getting the assist. Both Jaylin Lindsey and Rad did their best to prevent the shot but Rubin danced on the ball and sliced the shot past both defenders and into the back of the net.
SKC was unable to rally and return home with the season’s first loss to face Austin next weekend.
Vermes: “When you lose the ball—when you’re a team that wants to have the ball and you don’t have the ball—and when you play like we did today, you’re going to struggle. And we did. (RSL) were better. We started out well and they were having a hard time breaking us down. Again, as the game wore on in the first half, we were kicking easy passes out of bounds or they were going under our foot. We didn’t recognize that we had two versus one, sometimes three versus one. We ended up passing the ball to the other team, and you can’t do that. That annihilated us in the game; destroyed us.”
Sporting Kansas City: John Pulskamp; Jaylin Lindsey, Kaveh Rad, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins; Ilie Sanchez, Gianluca Busio (Gadi Kinda 72’), Remi Walter (Roger Espinoza 64’); Khiry Shelton, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell (C) (Daniel Salloi 55’)
Subs Not Used: Kendall McIntosh, Amadou Dia, Roberto Puncec, Graham Smith, Cam Duke, Wilson Harris
Real Salt Lake: David Ochoa; Aaron Herrera (Andrew Brody 30’), Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia; Nick Besler, Pablo Ruiz (Douglas Martinez 79’); Albert Rusnak (C), Damir Kreilach, Anderson Julio (Justin Meram 57’); Rubio Rubin (Maikel Chang 79’)
Subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Erik Holt, Ashtone Morgan, Noah Powder, Justin Portillo
SKC — Alan Pulido 1 (Khiry Shelton 1) 17’
RSL — Damir Kreilach 1 (Andrew Brody 1, Pablo Ruiz 1) 35’
RSL — Rubio Rubin 1 (Damir Kreilach 1) 52’
RSL — Rubio Rubin 2 (Damir Kreilach 2) 77’
RSL — Pablo Ruiz (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 31’
RSL — Maikel Chang (yellow card; time wasting) 79’