After a relatively hot start to the season — scoring in every game of their first eight — Real Salt Lake is now scoreless in two straight games, after back-to-back 1-0 road losses against the Colorado Rapids and the Houston Dynamo.
With three games left on their road trip, it’s becoming vital that RSL pick up some points, and the best way to do that will obviously be to find the back of the net.
Salt Lake, now scoreless in 200 minutes, didn’t even end up with a shot on frame in the last game against Houston. There were a few golden scoring chances, and even a Plata goal called back for a foul on the play. None of their seven shots ended up on frame.
The week before against Colorado, they had better accuracy with six total shots on target, but still couldn’t get one past Rapids ‘keeper Zac MacMath.
The last time RSL visited rivals Sporting Kansas City, they fielded a depleted squad, missing a bunch of key players due to injuries and suspensions. Despite this, they still managed to get the edge over SKC in a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Justen Glad and Luke Mulholland, sending Kansas City into a downward spiral as they would only win one of their next eight, with a seven-game winless skid included.
This time around, it’s looking like RSL will be nearly full-staffed. With Sunny still somewhat on the mend, and waiting for official word on Aaron Maund, they’re only potentially missing a couple preferred starters.
SKC is also missing a couple key players in defender Kevin Ellis who is out with a groin strain, and defender Seth Sinovic also with a groin strain.
Given that RSL has already beat Kansas City on the road, will they be able to regain some footing and claim the full three points at Children’s Mercy Park? It’s hard to imagine that with the attacking prowess of Burrito Martinez, Joao Plata, Yura Movsisyan, and Javier Morales, that they’ll stay scoreless for much longer.
Kansas City finally won a game last week at home against Orlando City, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of the woods yet. RSL’s lone road win this season came at Children’s Mercy Park, and they’ll be looking to pick up a second this Saturday as they try to bounce back from their two losses in a row.
RSL is currently tied on points (17) and wins (5) with SKC, but leads on goal differential by one goal to put them in sixth place. However, RSL has three games in hand on Sporting, having only played 10 games to their 13.
With such an intense rivalry that’s built up over the past few years, we at least know this will be a game that both teams are hungry to win — both teams in a situation where they could use a full three points to keep up with the rest of the fierce western conference.