Real Salt Lake return to league play after a three-week break to face Chicago Fire, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake’s last match was against LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup last Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium but with six players on international duty, including Albert Rusnak, Jefferson Savarino, and Aaron Herrera, it was a tough ask for RSL and they dropped out of the Open Cup with the 3-0 loss. Their last league match at New York Red Bulls, on June 1, didn’t end much differently when RSL lost 4-0.
If you include the U.S. Open Cup match, RSL is on a three-match losing streak to mirror their three-match win streak that was snapped with the loss to Montreal on May 29. Rusnak still leads RSL with five goals and two assists, Johnson’s goal on Wednesday was his fifth of the season, Damir Kreilach got his first assist of 2019 to add to his three goals, Jefferson Savarino also has three goals and one assist, Sebastian Saucedo has two goals and two assists, and Corey Baird has one goal and two assists.
2. Real Salt Lake sits in 7th place in the western conference with a record of 6-8-1 and 19 points. With the international break over, Real Salt Lake is missing only Jefferson Savarino who remains with Venezuela at the Copa America. RSL has an overall record of 7-7-7 all-time against Chicago Fire and 3-4-4 at Chicago. The Claret & Cobalt’s last beat Chicago on the road in 2015 in a match that ended 2-0 but their last match at Chicago, in 2017, resulted in a 2-0 loss.
With their recent form and just two road wins this season, head coach Mike Petke and his staff are rethinking their approach to away matches:
3. Including the U.S. Open Cup, Chicago Fire is winless in their last five matches and ranked 9th in the eastern conference with a record of 4-6-6. Despite their recent form, Chicago has a home record of 4-1-3 and haven’t lost at SeatGeek Stadium since March 16. The Fire’s leading goal scorer CJ Sapong (six goals and two assists) is questionable for Saturday’s match with a back injury alongside Johan Kappelhof who has a thigh injury. Nemanja Nikolić has five goals, Aleksandar Katai has three goals and four assists, Nicolás Gaitán has two goals and five assists.