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Preview: Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew

Real Salt Lake will welcome the Columbus Crew for an almost-Independence Day clash, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:

1.  Real Salt Lake is coming off a 2-0 victory against rivals Sporting Kansas City.  Sam Johnson got a brace after finishing a beautifully worked set-piece in the 15th minute, that I am lovingly referring to as the Annexation of Puerto Rico 2019 Remix (⬅️ go to the :30 second mark), and snatching a shot off the foot of Damir Kreilach in the 29th.  Nick Rimando made crucial saves, per usual, to keep his side ahead in the match and took Man of the Match honors, planting the flag after the match.

Johnson’s goal brought him to a team-leading 7 on the season, Albert Rusnak has 6 goals and 3 assists, Damir Kreilach has 3 goals and 3 assists, and Kyle Beckerman registered his first assist of the season.

Justen Glad’s strong defensive performance earned him his first MLS Team of the Week reserves honors.

2.  The win against SKC improved RSL’s record to 7-8-2 with 23 points but it didn’t move the team up in the standings and they remain in 8th.  Saturday’s win was their third consecutive at home, bringing their 2019 home record to 5-2-0.  RSL has an all-time record of 5-12-4 against Columbus but is 4-3-3 at home against the Crew.  Real is 3-0-0 against Eastern Conference opponents at Rio Tinto Stadium this season (2-1 Orlando, 3-0 Toronto, 3-0 Atlanta).

Although Venezuela has been eliminated from Copa America, Jefferson Savarino remains unavailable to RSL for Wednesday’s match.  Tony Beltran is still listed as doubtful.

3.  Columbus Crew currently sits in 11th in the eastern conference with a record of 5-11-2 and 17 points.  Their last win came on May 8th versus LA Galaxy, but their last and only road win came in week two of the season at New England Revolution.  Since their win at New England, they have last six consecutive road matches and been outscored by opponents 12-5.  Columbus is also quite short-handed for Wednesday’s match, missing Jonathon Mensah (Ghana), Will Trapp (USA), and Gyasi Zardes (USA) to international duty while David Accam (hamstring), Federico Higuain (ACL), Milton Valenzuela (ACL), and Josh Williams (foot) are all out injured.  Zardes leads the team with 6 goals and 2 assists, Pedro Santos has 4 goals and 2 assists, Gaston Sauro has two goals, and Higuain has 1 goal and 5 assists.  The Black and Gold are coming off a 2-0 home loss to Orlando City.

Our coverage of Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew begins on Wednesday, July 3 at 7 PM, kick-off at 8 PM.

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