Real Salt Lake are nearing a free-fall after two losses and two draws in their last four. They host Sporting Kansas City, who are dead last in the west. This is a crucial game for RSL to win to stop their slide. And it’s often one of the most fun games to watch. RSL vs. Sporting Kansas City has proved to be one of the best match-ups in the league for almost a decade now, and tonight’s game represents a big challenge for both sides.
After RSL’s game at Atlanta on Wednesday, Tate Schmitt was added to the injury report. He is listed as questionable with a knee issue. That means the loss of another, somewhat, defensive player. Anderson Julio and Jefferson Savarino are also listed as questionable. They’re RSL’s best attacking spark, so their loss will be felt in the attack. Justen Glad remains “questionable” and his absence on the backline is the biggest loss on the team.
Someone needs to score
Johan Kappelhof scored RSL’s only goal against Atlanta (his first ever in MLS), and while it’s great that center backs are scoring, it’s not an effective plan to win a game. As mentioned above, Sava and Julio are out for this game, which means Meram and Chang on the wings. Those are good options and RSL is lucky to have some good depth there, but Cordova has been a problem. He gets himself into good positions but simply refuses to take scoring chances, or when he does, they’ve very poor. Rubin may be the better option to start this game as RSL wraps up a three game week.
The 18 year old U20 USMNT standout Diego Luna got his first start with RSL on Wednesday. He’s a player with a high ceiling but he looked a step behind for much of the game. After impressing at the Concacaf U-20 Championship, his transition back to MLS shown he hasn’t readjusted to the speed of the league. He’s a skilled player, but this is a big game and he’ll need to be at this best to be effective. If Real want him to develop, games like this could be a good chance. He was subbed at the half against ALT, and while no player likes that, it’s worth giving him the start to give him those chances to grow.
RSL availability report
Out: Farnsworth (right ankle), Kreilach (back), Wood (abductor)
Questionable: Glad (hamstring), Julio (quadriceps), Savarino (hip flexor), Schmitt (knee)
With Monarchs: Dewsnup, Garcia, Beavers, Benitez, Wellings, Kei, Orozco