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

Real Salt Lake head to Kansans City to take on a western conference rival as both teams fight for playoff position 

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

Real Salt Lake is on the edge of making the playoffs, just barely above that menacing red line. LA Galaxy is one point behind RSL, but RSL have a game in hand. Things are getting very tight in the west. RSL defeated Sporting Kansas City 4-2 on July 4, but had been sent out of the US Open Cup less than a month prior by SKC. Have Real’s away form improved enough to get a result in Kansas City?

More Options

It’s very late in the season, and for the first time, we have a mostly healthy team. There are only four players on the list; Beltran, Allen, Horvath, and Horst. Mike Petke seems to have found his preferred starting 11, but now he has a few more choices in his lineup selection. This isn’t a game for experimentation, and it’s likely we see the same 11 we’ve had recently. The only major change has been Marcelo Silva rejoining the back line. This comes at a time when Nedum Onuoha has joined the team and should be available for selection. Does Petke go for the known and tested option, or does he mix things up in hopes of claiming vital points on the road?

Center Forward and Creative Playmaker

Atlanta is a good team. They’re on track to break the MLS record for most points in a single season, so any takeaways from last week need to be viewed through that lens. That being said, Rusnak and Krielach were ineffective. They weren’t bad, but nothing they did resulted in goals. By definition, all of RSL’s attackers were ineffective, but the connection between Albert and Damir on the field is an interesting one. Each player had only one shot apiece. Jefferson was the best in that game, with three shots. Sporting isn’t nearly as good as ATL, but we need to see better connection and more shots from these two. How does the point of the attack improve those around them and finish chances?

Injury Report

OUT: Beltran (knee 10/15/17) Allen (knee 6/16/17) Horwath (achilles 4/18) Horst (achilles 6/26)

Predicted Line Up

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, M. Silva, Herrera

Beckerman, Sunny

Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

Kreilach