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Real Salt Lake vs. D.C. United match preview

RSL comes in needing a victory to stay tight in the playoff race — but D.C. needs nothing from the match.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

These two teams haven’t faced off since 2019 — a staggering three years — and it came at a time when they were good in the league. Not world-beaters, mind, but good. This time around, they’re — well — not.

They’re not even close to good. They’re down-right bad, and that shouldn’t for a moment bring us any peace of mind. Wayne Rooney has been installed as their head coach for just two months, and RSL homegrown product David Ochoa was unceremoniously shipped off to the nation’s capital. Those two events could prove meaningful as we think about this match.

What RSL needs to do to win

Score goals. Once again, my tip for what RSL needs to do to secure a victory here is just that: Score goals. And that’s not because I’m trying to be flippant. It’s because we’ve not been great at doing it (save that match against Minnesota United), and one goal might not be enough to cut it. Let’s ship a half-dozen past Ochoa. (No offense, David Ochoa.)

Match details and forecast

  • When: 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
  • Forecast: Low 80s around kickoff, low 70s around end of match. Maybe bring a light sweater if you’re concerned about getting chilly during the fireworks.

Injuries and Absences


  • Damir Kreilach, as will almost certainly be the case for the end of the year


  • Bobby Wood, who remains unlikely to play through a longer-term injury
  • Pablo Ruiz is listed as questionable with a bone bruise, which he sustained against LAFC

Quote of the Match

I don’t know Wayne (Rooney), but I obviously watched a ton of him while he was playing. I’m assuming people don’t change much from their coaching days to their playing days. The one thing that he won’t allow is for people to mail it in or to not give 100%. That’s been the biggest difference for me is the way the team’s playing with a lot of confidence. Even the game against Atlanta, I think they led twice.

Now they have Benteke, who’s a real threat. They’re rolling with a bit of confidence and momentum. The standings in this league do not in any way signify anything on game day.

This is the one league in the world, I think, where it doesn’t matter who you play, you’ve got to be at your best, attack it the right way. D.C. is a team that’s in a good way at a moment. For us, it’s a really important home game. One of our strengths as a group is not taking any team lately, and we’re prepared to play against a top-rated D.C. United team.

Pablo Mastroeni on D.C. United, via Talkin’ Real

Stat of the Match

RSL still has the highest launch percentage (60.4 percent) from goalkeepers in 2022 — passes longer than 40 yards from a goalkeeper. D.C. United sits at 39.4 percent. Will the difference between goalkeeping distribution strategies play a role?

Predicted Lineup and Formation

Herrera, Glad, Silva, Brody
Löffelsend, Caldwell
Chang, Cordova, Savarino, Meram

Last nine matches

  • Sat., Mar 16, 2019: DC United 5-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., May 12, 2018: Real Salt Lake 3-2 DC United
  • Sun., Aug 13, 2017: DC United 0-1 Real Salt Lake
  • Fri., Jul 1, 2016: Real Salt Lake 1-1 DC United
  • Sat., Aug 1, 2015: DC United 6-4 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Aug 9, 2014: Real Salt Lake 3-0 DC United
  • Tue., Oct 1, 2013: DC United 1-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Mar 9, 2013: DC United 1-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Sep 1, 2012: Real Salt Lake 1-0 DC United