Real Salt Lake open their 2021 season at home the same way they closed 2020 – against Sporting Kansas City. SKC have had a decent start to 2021, getting 4 points from two games. They had a very good 2020 and came in first in the western conference that season. We reached out to our old friend Cindy Lara, who now writes for the Blue Testament, to help us gain some insight on Kansas City.
What moves Sporting Kansas City make over the offseason? Do you expect them to improve over an impressive 2020?
Sporting Kansas City made a few moves over the offseason. The most notable one is allowing former SKC Captain Matt Besler to sign with Austin FC. Other veterans have also left the club, including Felipe Gutierrez, Gerso Fernandes, Winston Reid, and Erik Hurtado.
SKC had to fill positions that were of need after the departure of key players. It came with the signings of center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and midfielder Remi Walte, both from France. While these two signings were impressive, the team signed more Homegrown players.
There is hope that 2021 will be a better year, but the team is definitely younger. One of their best players is 18-year-old Gianluca Busio, who has emerged as the team’s new number 10. If the team can get their veterans healthy again, they can have a good 2021.
How would you assess Kansas City’s first two games of the season?
With a younger team, goalkeeper Tim Melia injured, and Johnny Russell not at 100%, SKC has not seen a team at full strength. Graham Zusi is still recovering from foot surgery, and Ilie Sanchez has missed the last two games with back spasms. Mexican start Alan Pulido has also come off the bench for both games, and he has not contributed significantly so far.
The win against NY Red Bull was not pretty, but hey, it was the first game of the season, and a win is a win. Against Orlando City, SKC got lucky with the help of VAR that disallowed a couple of Orlando goals, but the match was even as both sides controlled one half each. SKC should be feeling pretty good about going into the RSL game with 4 points
Fans of Real Salt Lake still take the rivalry between RSL and SKC pretty seriously. How is the rivalry perceived by SKC fans these days? Does it still hold the same fire as it did in the mid-twentyteens?
The rivalry is definitely recognized, and there’s definitely a mutual dislike. It depends on how far the fandom goes, too. Definitely longtime SKC fans will remember the bench-clearing preseason fight in 2011, and the 2013 MLS Cup which ended with SKC lifting the trophy. Social media comments would indicate that RSL is still seen as a rival, and fans will take the opportunity to take a jab at RSL. It depends on who you ask, whereas with RSL fans, the rivalry is more intense.
Bonus question: You’ve promised many times to eat a sock – where do you stand on the importance of being a person of your word?
Thank u, next.