Sporting Kansas City have been decimated by injuries. It’s a game that Real Salt Lake should win. Sporting did beat the Crew in Columbus last week in a 1-0 victory, but they’ve struggled all season, having earned 19 points. RSL, on the other hand, have earned 20 points, so the margin isn’t that wide, but where RSL has more wins, SKC has significantly more draws. For RSL fans who had hoped to see Benny Feilhaber lose to RSL in a Rapids jersey, this might be the next best thing.
Breaking down defenses
RSL’s attack has struggled to break down defenses in the last few games. They’ve scored 2 goals in 3 matches, taking a combined total of 1 point from those games. Not ideal.
The attack will look different this week. We should see Johnson return to starting at the 9, which means Kreilach will play deeper, either as a false 9 or a 10. He did well last season in those roles and there’s no reason to not try it against a weakened Kansas City side. If Kreilach is in that role, this could also mean Rusnak is on the wing. He’s very good on the wing for his national team, but it has never quite come off for RSL. It might be worth trying again. This could give the team more ability to move the ball around to help pull apart a defense that has only kept two clean sheets this season.
Is the love still alive?
A lot has changed for both teams since the heyday of the RSL/SKC rivalry. With Benny rejoining his old team, will that reignite anything for the RSL players? Only Beckerman and Rimando were really around in those days. One would hope that the new players understand what this match means to the fans. If there’s not an added spark on the field, there certainly should be one in the stands.
This isn’t anything super specific to this game, but after all the great responses to Rimando’s inclusion in the MLS All-Star game, it made me think about how his games in an RSL shirt are limited. The man has set an absurd number of MLS records, many of which are unlikely to be broken. This game, like the ten remaining home games after it, are the last chances to watch this legend at his craft. Watch the keeper and appreciate everything he does for the team.
Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season Ending)