Real Salt Lake head to the “blue hell” where they’ll take on a fairly poor Sporting Kansas City team. Sporting have a 7-9-7 record this season and sit in 10th place on 28 points. They’re averaging 1.22 points per game, and are only slightly better at home with a 4-4-3 record. RSL are in 6th place in the west on 34 points (1.48 points per game). After an impressive win against NYCFC, they head to Kansas City, where the team has faced a lot of heartbreak.
There have been times over the last six years where it seemed like one punch was all it took to knock RSL out of a game. When NYCFC scored in the 4th minute last Saturday, it looked as though it could be one of those games. After that goal, I fully expected the team to collapse, but they didn’t. They took a bit to find their form, then they not only got into the game but took control of it.
If RSL take a punch early on, do they fight back or is that the game? It seems that there aren’t many creative ideas and that has hurt the team in the past but their grit last game showed that hard work is a huge part of getting all three points.
This is the third and final match where Freddy Juarez is in charge of the team before Mike Petke’s suspension is set to end. It seemed like the team had a plan last weekend, but two games is far too small of a sample size to really see if Freddy has a distinct vision for the team outside of Petke’s plans. A draw in Dallas, a win against NYCFC, and a win in Kansas City could be a strong indicator that he knows what he’s doing.
If you watch RSL’s three goals from last week, there is some incredible passing movement that allows RSL’s attack to pull part New York’s defense and create those chances. Because it happened repeatedly, it seems like a plan and not simply improvisation. Watch for any patterns that you haven’t seen much of in the last year or two.
The longtime RSL captain still has what it takes to make a major impact in a game. The man had two assists and played very well in the midfield. Everton Luiz’s play frees up Beckerman to do what he does best and, in turn, that was two assists. Now, Luiz is suspended from this game for yellow card accumulation. So is Benny Failhaber, which makes his yellow card at RSL before he even subbed into the game a bit more ironic. With Everton out, that means we’ll see Belser and Beckerman in the midfield. Real’s newest signing, Kelyn Rowe, is a midfielder, but will not yet be available for selection.
Beckerman is one of the two players who are likely to feature for RSL in this game who played in the 2013 MLS Cup Final. He understands what this match means to the team and the fans. Beckerman knows how to bring the fire.
Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season
Beltran (knee; 3/15/19)
Johnson (quad; 7/3/19)
Yellow card accumulation: