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RSL vs MLS 2019 Edition

Who is RSL’s nemesis in MLS, and who hates to play us?

Real Salt Lake v Seattle Sounders FC - Western Conference Semifinals Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

It’s time again for a look at Real Salt Lake vs Major League Soccer! A statistical look at how our team has done historically vs the other teams in the league. Who do we perform well against, and what teams have we struggled against. Some of these you may predict, others may surprise you.

Note that these totals do include US Open Cup games, Playoffs and any CONCACAF Champions League matches, but not preseason games.

  • Atlanta United (1-2-0) -3 GD - With only 3 games played there’s not much to indicate a trend yet, but they’ve won two games vs RSL - one of them at the RioT.
  • Chicago Fire (7-7-9) -5 GD - Two teams that are tidally locked, but we have a -5 GD vs the Fire that tilts the balance to them.
  • Colorado Rapids (21-14-11) +22 GD - It may not surprise anyone that RSL historically does well vs their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals.
  • Columbus Crew (9-12-5) -1 GD - The Crew have the edge, but not by an overwhelming margin. The big difference is they have won 3 times on the road vs 2 for us.
  • DC United (9-10-5) -7 GD - RSL has done OK vs DCU, but a few blowout losses have padded the goal differential in their favor.
  • FC Cincinnati (1-0-0) +3 GD - One game in and RSL has the lead, and they have to come to the RioT for next year’s game.
  • FC Dallas (11-23-9) -21 GD - Historically Dallas has been our bogeyman with the infamous Texas Curse. We’ll need some very good results to even the odds.
  • Houston Dynamo (11-12-7) +2 GD - At least we’ve managed to stop the Texas Curse when it comes to the Dynamo. They may still have the edge on wins, but we’re ahead on goals.
  • Los Angeles FC (1-5-0) -11 GD - Here’s a candidate for RSL’s new nemesis, but with only 6 games there is time to stop the bleeding.
  • Los Angeles Galaxy (17-21-11) -3 GD - We’ve played more games vs the Galaxy than any other for various reasons, and in nearly every instance it’s been a goal-fest with 74 goals for and 77 against.
  • Minnesota United (1-3-2) -4 GD - Our 2nd candidate for RSL’s new nemesis, but behind LAFC due to 2 of the games being ties.
  • Montreal Impact (2-4-2) -4 GD - We are 0-4-0 playing in Montreal, and even at home we’re only 50%. Maybe it’s the language barrier?
  • New England Revolution (10-6-6) +8 GD - RSL has a decent lead on the Revs., with 4 of the 10 wins on the road. They haven’t won in Utah since 2007.
  • New York City FC (4-1-0) +2 GD - They may be the Eastern champs, but not when it comes to RSL. Need some more games to prove this isn’t just a fluke though.
  • New York Red Bulls (7-7-9) -4 GD - Like Columbus, it’s a dead heat vs the Bulls. GD tips it in their favor, but the last time they got any points in Utah was 2011.
  • Orlando City (1-2-2) -2 GD - It’s bewildering why RSL appears to do so bad vs Orlando given their troubles, but with only 5 games played there’s time to arrest the fall.
  • Philadelphia Union (5-1-6) +7 GD - We seem to have Philly’s number, but most games have been even. They have never won in Utah, while we got one win there.
  • Portland Timbers (12-9-7) +5 GD - Although the Timbers have won many recent games against RSL, the odds are still on our side. They have won 5 times at the RioT though.
  • San Jose Earthquakes (11-11-12) +6 GD - For all their inconsistencies, we are dead even with the Quakes. Their last win in Utah came in 2013, while we won there 2 years later.
  • Seattle Sounders (13-13-6) 0 GD - If you picked Seattle as our nemesis - surprise! Recent memory can be a tricky thing. This one is another dead heat.
  • Sporting Kansas City (13-12-10) -1 GD - The rivalry tipped in our favor last year due to SKC’s difficulties. Hopefully next year we can erase that negative GD.
  • Toronto FC (10-6-4) +12 GD - We’ve bested the leafs exactly half of the games played, the home field is a major factor, but we’ve picked up 1 win and 3 ties there to put it in our favor.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps (9-9-4) -3 GD - We’ve struggled more than we should against the Caps., but the games come out pretty even. We beat them twice there, while they got one win here.

So who is our nemesis? Los Angeles FC would be the up-and-comer winning 83% of the games so far, but until we’ve played a few more games against them FC Dallas still holds the title with a 53.49% win rate and a Goal Differential of 21.

On the other side of the coin, we’ve bested New York City FC 80% of the time after 5 games, but as with LAFC we need a bit more data to see if that trend holds. Therefore Toronto FC is the team we historically do best against with a 50% win rate. Our Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Colorado Rapids come in a close 2nd at 45.65% and a +22 GD.