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RSL vs Sporting KC: What we learned

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Uncanny RSL #1

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the road in one of the toughest dens in MLS against a solid team and we are bringing home one point. For a bit there it looked like we might just snag all three points. Alas.

This Rivalry

Here’s the thing with SKC. Organically, they’re our rivals. It’s because we’re just so damn similar. We’re the mutants of MLS. New York, Toronto, LA, Seattle, and now LAFC and Atlanta—those are the Avengers of the Marvel MLS universe. There are other street-level teams that fall in the middle. But RSL and SKC? Yeah, we’re the muties. No one cares about us. We’re rarely noticed, and when we are, it’s always with a sneer or worse.

We’re the X-Men and they’re the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Or maybe it’s the other way around. That argument could go both ways, I suppose. That’s not important. What’s important is that even though we’re fundamentally opposed to each other, we’re also in the same boat with the same goals. We carry the same chip on the shoulder. Sometimes we’ll have to team up to stop the sentinels or Apocalypse or the Weapon X Program. Doesn’t mean we like each other, but there’s no doubt we’re similar.

Tonight

Tonight was a grind against a good team and RSL showed well for it. Baird has to be the league MVP Rookie of the Year. Has to, right? We’re the mutants, remember, so don’t be surprised if that honor falls elsewhere. Kid’s playing well, though. He deserves it.

Our defense weathered the storm (Storm? Maybe they are the X-Men, then; Petke as Magneto?). It was a solid team effort in the back led by the nigh-indomitable Nick Rimando. He’s a gem we’re going to struggle to replace. Not just as a player, but as a leader with that young back line.

It was a fun match to watch. Three points would have been very nice, but also not entirely realistic for this RSL squad on the road. One point away against a strong team? We’ll take it.

But

This is a really giant but. It’s huge and in the way, wobbling a bit, like Blob or Kingpin. LA Galaxy are on our tail. Hopefully we can bamf our way up the standings, but the Western Conference has gotten, if at all possible, even tighter. Time to pucker up those, um, butts and hope things plop our way.

RSL took a point today. A point on the road is always welcome. Except today it might have not been enough. Let’s hope it’s that one point that just keeps us alive and not the two points that barely sink us.

Overreactions

You could tell it was really windy in KC because of how Espinoza kept just falling over for no reason during the first ten minutes of the game. Lots of wind, folks. Lots of wind.

Rusnák’s new contract means he’s our man. No more “he doesn’t even want to be here” comments. Now it’s time for him to show up and prove his worth. He’s our Cyclops.

That means Kyle’s Wolverine. He’s a good leader by example; plus, he’s feisty, hairy, and ageless.