1) How confident is the team in finding victory against Real Salt Lake? Is there a sense that this is a difficult matchup for the side, or did this season's late winner escalate hopes and expectations?
It's going to be a difficult matchup either way but a lot of Sporting KC fans feel that the momentum is on their side. After a comeback win over New England in a second leg thriller, they were finally able to exorcise their demons against Houston. There's a lot of "This is the year" feeling going around Kansas City and there is confidence abound. However, there is also a lot of wary individuals who remember the match earlier this season and how close, physical and nerve-wracking that game was. They know how good RSL is and how tough an opponent they will be for Sporting KC. The home field is very nice to have in this scenario since it might give Sporting KC an edge, especially if it goes to penalties over by the Cauldron.
2) Aurelien Collin is perhaps best known as a defender for coming out early and making risky tackles - winning tackles and earning fouls in the process. How important is that to your tactical approach, and what danger does it present against Real Salt Lake?
There's a certain style that Sporting KC's defense uses that are primarily dominated by Aurelien Collin and Uri Rosell. It involves making tactical fouls and simply using their physicality to win the ball. It's the way Peter Vermes played as a player and it's now his system as a coach. This approach is very important to SKC's staunch defense because it sets the tone for the game and it creates a good system. Collin goes out and does the risky tackles while Besler stays back and anchors the defense, creating a two-fold system that is very tough to get past. The danger it presents to RSL is it means they won't be able to do what they did to Portland. Portland opened up trying to attack and they were burned. The back four, plus Rosell, are more physical and will come out to meet the RSL attack, stopping it in the process more often than not.
3) What do you see as the biggest vulnerability in your side, and what do you see as Real Salt Lake's biggest strength against you? How might they play out on Saturday?
The biggest weakness for Sporting KC all year has been their susceptibility to counters. Their high pressure offense brings most everyone forward and teams with speedy strikers up top, such as New York and Portland, are able to burn Sporting KC on these counters and outscore Sporting. Meaning, if Sporting Kansas City is caught too far forward and the ball is lifted up to Findley or Sandoval then RSL isn't going to have any problems scoring against Sporting KC. Since the return of Paulo Nagamura to the lineup the counters have been less likely to happen but it's always a possibility.