2-0 was the final score as Real Salt Lake was eliminated by the reigning champs Sporting Kansas City Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. In what was always going to be an interesting lineup considering RSL had 3 MLS games last week, Mike Petke opted for youth over tired legs.
GK: Connor Sparrow
RB: Adam Henley
CB: Taylor Peay
CB: David Horst
RB: Aaron Herrera
CM: Nick Besler
CM: Pablo Ruiz
CAM: Jose Hernandez
RW: Ricky Lopez-Espin (came off for Brooks Lennon in the 71st minute)
LW: Andrew Brody
ST: Luis Silva (came off for Alfredo Ortuno in the 78th minute)
Johnny Russel got things kicked off for Sporting KC in the 47th minute slotting home a fierce diving header into the bottom right-hand corner. As soon as RSL conceded the away team looked comfortable playing keep away, the legs for Real Salt Lake took a punishing the longer the game went. Kharlton Belmar’s goal in the 74th minute was the final nail in the coffin for RSL as the reigning champs moved on in rather convincing fashion.
Check out Mike Petke’s post-game press conference below:
"For me now the focus is L.A." pic.twitter.com/Q1PZ8pWbKU
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) June 7, 2018
Andrew Brody was exciting
Young #45 on the left-hand side was a ball magnet, the ball was constantly finding him as he darted back and forth up the left. He is only 23 years old and showed a great amount of promise in his RSL debut Wednesday evening. The academy seems to be working, the future is bright for this club!
Alfredo Ortuno got minutes!
The Spaniard got minutes for RSL for the first time since the disappointing trip to Yankee Stadium earlier this year that resulted in a 4-0 thumping at the hands of NYCFC. In the 85th minute Ortuno found himself with the ball roughly 30 yards from goal, he spat the ball out onto his left foot where he turned and shot, the ball was headed for the top right-hand corner (Jimmy Bullard top bins…Get in there!!!) if it was not for a save by Adrian Zendejas. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, he has something that not many other players in the MLS have, it is just a matter of finding the consistency to keep that switch turned on. I also question his attitude, he seems to be struggling mentally and I wonder if Mike Petke and Ortuno are banging heads a touch as a result…?
Up next for RSL is the LA Galaxy, of course, home to Zlatan Ibrahimovic…for Justen Glad and Marcelo Silva this is the biggest test of the year for them. Zlatan may be 36 but you would never know based on the way he goes about his business on the pitch and as the great man once said “I think I am like a wine. The older I get, the better I get.”
Much like RSL, the Galaxy have played a lot of football over the last couple of weeks so this will be a big test for both teams looking to regain supremacy in the Western Conference. RSL sits in lone 3rd spot on 22 points while the Galaxy is a measly 8th with 17 points.