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MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting KC v Real Salt Lake: Preview, Predictions & How to Watch

Man I hate RSL. But lets update you on their stats, form, transactions and more ahead of Sunday.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ Real Salt Lake

When: Sunday, July 17th, 2022 at 8:30 PM CT (Kickoff 8:38)

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium

How to Watch/Stream: 38 the Spot | ESPN+ (out of market) | SportingKC.com & SKC App (in market) | Sporting One App on Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV
How to Listen: La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

One more game before some rest arrives. Sporting Kansas City will head to Utah to wrap up the best kind of triple game week — Saturday/Wednesday/Sunday. If only they could all play out like that, with the maximum amount of rest available when you have to play three times. And it’s working for them. They went to Canada and defeated CF Montreal. They travelled to their ‘rival’ Minnesota United and were an own-goal away from a win (but settled for a draw). Now they head to a place where they struggle as they’ll take on actual rival, Real Salt Lake.

RSL will welcome them to town while sitting fourth in the Western Conference standings, behind Nashville SC only on goal differential but level on points. Everyone is looking up at Austin FC and LAFC who are far and away the best teams in the conference (and tops of the league too). SKC on the other hand have slipped back to last place as the San Jose Earthquakes won midweek to leave Sporting last on 20 points (but ahead of two teams out East), one point behind the 2021 Western Conference champions, the Colorado Rapids, who have a mere 21 points (but two games in hand). It’s wild how the mighty have fallen in KC and Colorado.

The West is still wide open though, as 10 points is all that separates third place from last place and a mere five points divides 3rd from 10th. Every point will really matter down the stretch.

Real Salt Lake’s Recent Form

  • June 18th vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 2-0 Win
  • June 25th vs. Columbus Crew SC — 0-0 Draw
  • July 3rd @ Minnesota United — 2-3 Loss
  • July 9th vs. Colorado Rapids — 2-2 Draw
  • July 13th @ Atlanta United — 1-2 Loss

KC are once again catching a team at a good time. RSL have only won once in their last six games and are pretty heavily beat up with injuries (see below). Can SKC take advantage?

What’s new for the RSL since these teams last met?

This is the second meeting between these teams this season. Check out our prior preview (and season preview) for all the offseason moves Salt Lake made. Below we’ll just tackle the moves since the March 23rd preview.

IN: Salt Lake have been busy. They made four moves, the biggest probably being bringing back Jefferson Savarino via transfer from Atletico Mineiro (Brazil). Savarino previously played for RSL from 2017-2020. They also made a permanent transfer for Anderson Julio, who was previously on loan with them and infamously torched KC in the playoffs last year. They beefed up the defense with signing Chris Kablan via loan from Waasland-Beveren (Belgium) and made a rare USL Championship transfer (for $250,000, a USL to MLS record) getting United States youth international Diego Luna from the El Paso Locomotive.

OUT: Less movement here, but they did loan out forward Jonathan Menendez to Velez Sarsfield (Argentina) and sell d-mid Everton Luiz to SK Beveren (Belgium).

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Ozzie Cisneros (hamstring), Erik Thommy (pending immigration), William Agada (pending immigration), Andreu Fontas (yellow card accumulation)

QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (quad), Tim Melia (shoulder), Kortne Ford (concussion)

*This has been updated based on the official injury report.

RSL

OUT - Zack Farnsworth (right ankle), Damir Kreilach (back), Bobby Wood (abductor), Scott Caldwell (Health & Safety Protocols)

QUESTIONABLE - Justen Glad (hamstring), Anderson Julio (quadriceps), Jefferson Savarino (hip flexor), Tate Schmitt (knee)

Discipline Watch for Sporting KC

Suspended Next Yellow Card: Kortne Ford, Johnny Russell

Uri Rosell was removed from this list due to the above rescinded yellow card. Now they just need to suspend floppers instead of fining them. The benefit of flopping is too great (PK calls, yellow cards, etc.). It seems a suspension is the only way to get it out of the game.

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Johnny Russell (6), Daniel Salloi (4), Remi Walter (3), Roger Espinoza (2), Marinos Tzionis, Felipe Hernandez, Graham Zusi (1)

Assists: Felipe Hernandez, Cam Duke (3), Daniel Salloi, Ben Sweat, Uri Rosell, Roger Espinoza, Remi Walter, Khiry Shelton, Kayden Pierre (1)

Real Salt Lake

Goals: Sergio Cordova, Justen Glad, Justin Meram, Jefferson Savarino (3), Tate Schmitt, Marcelo Silva (2), six with one (1)

Assists: Maikal Chang, Pablo Ruiz (6), Meram (4), Savarino (2), six with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day.

Predictions

Despite this negative season, Kansas City did pull out a 1-0 win the last time these teams met. It was unconvincing and at Children’s Mercy Park, but it was a win none-the-less. But it’s less favorable at elevation in SLC. Real Salt Lake have managed to only lose once in 10 meetings there since KC came back to the Western Conference in 2015 (6-1-3).

Add to that the fact that RSL are somewhat stout defensively and this could be another tough outing (though if they are in fact missing Glad, maybe less so). They’ve given up nine less goals than KC but still have a negative one goal differential — the only one of any current playoff team out West. If Kansas City can nick a goal or two, anything is possible. If they are in fact missing all these questionable players, Sporting KC must take advantage.

However, I can’t pick against the history, especially when Sporting are having such a down year.

1-0 RSL Win

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