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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs Sporting Kansas City

Major League Soccer has officially entered the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and RSL isn’t wasting any time taking on a bitter rival 

MLS: Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Open Cup is such an enthralling competition in US Soccer, however, it comes at a bad time for Real Salt Lake . RSL will have played five games in fifteen days by the end of this Saturday. Taking on a Sporting Kansas City, who are in fantastic form, towards the end of this stretch of games is not ideal.

Who Steps Up

Part of the beautify of the Open Cup is seeing a variety of players that often don’t take the field for the first team. This is a chance for some young up and comers to show they can contribute. We’re likely to see some Monarchs players. Connor Sparrow is likely to make his MLS debut tonight. Whoever make cracks the 18, this is their chance to prove themselves, so be sure to watch for what they have to offer.

Who Stays Strong

I don’t know how to put this, but this game is kind of a big deal. SKC are the reigning Open Cup champs, and our bitter enemy. The Open Cup is the fasted way into the Champions League (CONCACAF edition, not UEFA), which bring a lot of glory and cash. Our veteran players know this but they’ve put in quite a shift recently. If a few core guys, perhaps Beckerman and Rimando, can help impress the importance of this competition onto the team, we’ve got a good shot. The crossover of who starts this game and who started the last will be huge. Will those players show signs of fatigue or are they able to power through and bring down KC?

A Team Shift

The Open Cup is always a bit of a crapshoot. Could the surge in RSL’s recent performance be enough, even with a revised roster, to overcome a team like Sporting Kansas City? It’s hard to see what kind of team SKC will field, but RSL needs to be able to deal with whatever they throw at them. Real has to show they have an identity on the field and can deal with any pressure. We’re all hoping that away win in Seattle was the turning of the tide; this might be the biggest challenge to prove that happened.

Injury Report

Out

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Barry (knee 3/10)

Phillips (ankle 4/7)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

Mulholland (back 5/2)

Questionable

Plata (back 6/2)

Predicted Lineup

Sparrow

Henley, Horst, Moberg, Herrera

Besler, Ruiz

Chang, Silva, Saucedo

Lopez-Espin