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

RSL play gracious host to their greatest foe, top-of-the-west SKC

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Real Salt Lake vs Sporting KC Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake host Sporting Kansas City in the middle of a busy week for both teams. SKC sit on top of the western conference with 32 points from 17 games. RSL is in 5th with 23 points from 17 games. Both sides played on Saturday and have another game to look forward to the following Saturday. While this is the first time they’ve met for the MLS season, Sporting did provide RSL with an exit from the US Open Cup a month ago. Will being home provide Real the edge they need to defeat their biggest rival?

RSL’s Lampard and Gerrard

Seeing Kreilach pushed to the center forward role against Columbus reminded me a bit of England’s struggle in making two of their biggest stars in Lampard and Gerrard fit together. It’s obviously a very different situation with Rusnak and Kreilach, and maybe I have England on the brain after their win over Colombia, but I can’t help but look at RSL and think their biggest need is to fit two good players into one spot. I liked seeing experimentation on Saturday, and I’m hoping for more, and different, experiments soon. I’m not sure hosting the Wiz is the time to do it, but maybe we can switch the role’s we saw this week. The biggest question for me is now Petke has tried something new with this pair, but does he do it this game?

The Wings

RSL has had a good deal of success coming from the wings. It’s been different with Plata inconsistent with injury and Savarino not quite the danger he displayed last season. Bofo has impressed, but he’s not as dependable as others. Plata got a good runout in the last game, and we should see him return to his left wing. Another question for the wingers if they’re sending the ball into the box, who are the aiming for? Kreilach felt out of place at the nine so it would be nice to see Silva or Baird in that spot. How well can other players come through the middle of the field so the wingers can come inside to collect?

Streaky

If I’m honest, I’m not particularly optimistic about RSL’s chances on this one. They had a good three game winning streak that was followed by a loss, a tie, and another loss. Kansas City is looking very strong. Three points at home would be ideal, but if we don’t get it, what’s the response from Mike Petke and the players? A win is a tall order, and maybe we’re in a holding pattern until the transfer window opens, but who will step up for the time being?

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)

Lopez-Espin (knee 6/13)

Horst (achilles 6/26)

Predicted Line Up

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, M.Silva, Acosta

Beckerman, Sunny

Savarino, Kreilach, Plata

Rusnak