Well it is a couple hours before Real Salt Lake will take the pitch at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park to take on Sporting Kansas City, I looked around for some of the best previews and articles to help you all get ready for the match and here is the list I found:
The weather could be a story as thunderstorms are popping up around the Kansas City area as head towards game time, the weather and the impact of it on flights yesterday could be a story as several RSL players didn't get into the city until very late yesterday which could have impacted their ability to rest and get ready for the match today, so could the weather play a role again tonight?
I will be match with the starting lineups when they are announced, and of course with my thoughts as match goes along will be posted as well. Feel free to add your comments before and during the match
OK I was off one player in my predicted starting XI, as Jason sticks with the guys who got i done against Colorado:
, Chris Wingert
, Nat Borchers
, Jamison Olave
, Tony Beltran
, Will Johnson
, Kyle Beckerman
, Sebastian Velasquez
, Luis Gil
, Alvaro Saborio
, and Fabian Espindola
after the jump I will post my match updates:
Well for Real Salt Lake to be able to have a majority of the possession and be able to withstand the early runs made by Sporting KC, are good signs. Both sides are pressuring the ball quickly no matter where it is on the pitch, some good work early from Will Johnson on both sides of the ball, and an enjoyable start to the match as you can tell that neither side lacks skill or confidence. I do think RSL is struggling a little bit with their passing due to the formation and pressure being applied by Sporting. Neither side with a shot in the first 15 minutes and that is a good sign for RSL, we are tied at 0-0 in the 15th minute.
Sporting KC has gotten much more comfortable as they have gained an edge and they have had a bit more possession and able to play much of this session on the RSL side of the pitch, they have earned corner kick after corner kick as they put pressure on RSL. RSL has had a couple chances to counter but nothing too dangerous has come of them yet. RSL did get their first corner kick of the match as we near the 30th minute but are unable to come up with anything off of it. Neither of these teams are playing in fear as both pushing forward with numbers each time they get the ball. After 30 minutes we are still tied at 0-0 but Sporting has been much more dangerous the last 15 minutes than RSL has been.
Both sides have some chances but neither side is able to convert, but in the final 15 minutes of the first half I would have to say that Sporting had the better of the play. After dominating the first 15 minutes, playing on their heels for the second 15 minutes the match evened out a bit more in the final 15 minutes of the half, RSL has a very slight edge in possession, Sporting has a slight edge is passing accuracy, both teams have 3 shots. The only place one team has a real advantage is the 9-3 edge in corner kicks that Sporting has. I have to say that Olave did a nice job of selling the push by Sapong, which pulled a goal off the scoreboard. That play could be the difference maker if RSL can find their spot and get a goal, it is clear that RSL is doing what few teams can do and that is playing with Sporting both in skill and physical play, and that is starting to frustrate the team that is used to dictating how matches go, it could lead to some frustration and sloppy play in the second half. We are 0-0 at halftime.
No changes for either side as the second half kicks off. Sporting has to make the first change of the night at Paulo Nagamura
comes on for Julio Cesar in the 51st minute a injury sub. Sporting is still applying some really tough pressure and so far RSL has stood strong, been very impressed with the play of Sebastian tonight, working really hard. Will Johnson has also worked hard, he picked up a yellow card as he pulled down Kei Kamara
just outside of the area, but SKC was unable to do much with the set piece. We end 60 minutes at 0-0/
RSL gives up a 10th corner kick and makes RSL pay as Sabo loses his man and Aurélien Collin puts it past Rimando to give Sporting the 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute of the match. After the goal Sporting is playing a bit more deliberate but they are still applying a great amount of pressure on the ball on both half of the pitch, a bit less when RSL has the ball in their own half. RSL seems to have picked up their urgency a bit after giving up the goal, now RSL need to stay in control of their emotions and play smart. RSL get lucky that a ball bouncing around the area goes out for another SKC corner kick and not past a very empty side of the net.
A huge save by Rimando to keep RSL in this one, but SKC again is forward with a lot of numbers and unless RSL can find a way to get past those number to Fabi or Sabo it will be tough for them to get an equalizer. Oh I missed the sub of Jonny Steele for Sebastian, and now RSL use their second sub as Luis Gil leaves and Paulo Jr. comes on to give RSL a bit more offensive power and a bit more speed.
Remember that RSL has four goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, so this one isn't over until the final whistle blows, but as RSL pushes higher and higher for the chances to get an equalizer that they don't get caught giving up anything to SKC.
RSL is pushing numbers forward and doing their best to create some chances, a good header by Borchers as we hit stoppage time, but Nielsen makes the save. It is nice to see that RSL isn't backing down, they aren't giving up but battling for every ball and trying to create some chances. A late foul as the match ends but RSL are unable to get it into the area and unable to get a goal as the match ends 1-0.
Not a bad effort by RSL but they simply allowed Sporting KC to dictate the match and while RSL had more possession it was the lost mark on a corner kick that allowed Sporting KC to score the only goal of the match. It was a hard fought, physical match, just what I expected from both teams.
OFF MY SOAPBOX