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RSL vs. Chicago Fire: What we’re watching and how to watch

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Let’s buckle up for some soccer.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-LAFC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

With your usual host of this here column, Lucas Muller, out on a bit of an expedition, I’ve been tasked with sharing with you what I’ll be watching in tonight’s Real Salt Lake match.

And while I can’t promise I won’t be a little salty, I’m going to try to embody the spirit of Lucas here and provide you some meaningful, useful information.

No Savarino, so who’s in?

First things first, obviously, Jefferson Savarino is off playing in Copa America. Good for him! If he gets minutes, it’ll likely increase the chance he’ll be dealt away from our side. I’m honestly not enthralled by the prospect.

But while he’s away, we’re going to see somebody different at right wing. I actually think this one’s a fairly easy decision: Corey Baird. I mean, we could see Brooks Lennon, but that doesn’t seem likely — he’s more or less a full-time full back by this point. We also won’t be likely to see Joao Plata, who was spotted in an Instagram story back in Salt Lake and not in Chicago. That’s at least a change from Ecuador, where he spent an extended period.

So, yeah. Baird.

How good is Chicago at home?

Chicago actually has a pretty decent home record — they’re 4-1-3 from eight games. We have one more loss and three fewer draws, which is to say, we have zero. Our road record is not great, too — 2-6-1 — and I don’t think we have too much hope to cling to here.

This does not, of course, spell certain doom for our heroes. Instead, it’s just something we need to consider when we think about our chances. Chicago isn’t terrible at home, but they have dropped points in four home stands.

Mike Petke and RSL’s identity

In an interesting interview this week, RSL coach Mike Petke told Brian Dunseth that he was going to be looking to instill more identity into the way RSL operates. I can only applaud that while also wondering why it hasn’t happened prior to this point — why is that a new realization? I guess it’s better to be a little late, right? Ah, well.

Petke did seem to indicate we might do things a little differently this week. I’m very curious what that means, and if anything really changes tonight.

How to watch

  • When: 6 p.m. Mountain
  • Where: SeatGeek Stadium; Bridgeview, Ill.
  • Live stream: KSL TV app (inside Utah), ESPN+ (outside Utah, subscription)
  • TV: KMYU (2.2 OTA)