After a rocky start to the first half, in which Alan Pulido opened the scoring for Kansas City, Rubio Rubin, Damir Kreilach and Andrew Brody — of all people — turned the match completely on its head, lifting RSL to a 3-1 victory.
Sporting Kansas City opened the scoring early in the first half, netting a 17th minute Alan Pulido goal following a wasteful turnover in the midfield from Real Salt Lake.
Aaron Herrera exited the match in the 30th minute for what was a reported left quad injury; he was replaced by Andrew Brody, who similarly came through the RSL Academy.
Damir Kreilach found a first-half response with a perfectly headed goal from the center of the box, but it will be Andrew Brody’s name in lights for his excellent cross and assist. During a quick spell in the waning stages of the first half, Brody dispelled immediate concerns about Aaron Herrera’s injury substitution.
RSL took a second-half lead early on, with Rubio Rubin netting his first Major League Soccer goal on the back of a floated Damir Kreilach cross.
Rubin doubled RSL’s lead with just 15 minutes left in the match, finishing a stupendous solo run from a tight angle to put RSL up 3-1. It was the sort of thing this half-full crowd had been waiting for, and the release — just as it was for each goal — was palpable.
Everton Luiz was gone from the lineup with a potential MCL injury, with Nick Besler replacing him as RSL maintained what may be Freddy Juarez’s preferred midfield shape. That kept Damir Kreilach at the point of the attack in the midfield, with Albert Rusnak shifted out wide.