Real Salt Lake is back at Rio Tinto Stadium for an eastern conference matchup, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. RSL is coming off a 0-0 draw at FC Dallas last weekend, bringing their road record to 2-7-3 in 2019. Real Salt Lake looked like they might take all three points in Dallas but just couldn’t convert any of their five shots on goal. The defensive clean sheet was Nick Rimando’s 150th in Major League Soccer and his 114th with RSL.
Sam Johnson still leads the team with eight goals, Albert Rusnak has seven goals and three assists, Jefferson Savarino has five goals and three assists, and Damir Kreilach has four goals and three assists.
2. With last week’s draw, RSL dropped out of the playoff picture to 8th place with a record of 9-9-4 and 31 points. Tony Beltran (knee) has been ruled out for Saturday’s match against NYCFC, while Sam Johnson (quad) is doubtful, and Nedum Onuoha (adductor) and Rusnak (knee) are probable. Rusnak and Onuoha both participated fully in drills during training this week, Rusnak said he’s feeling ready to play. Though Rimando saw about 30 minutes in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game in Orlando it is likely he will play against NYC as back-up goalkeeper Andrew Putna played a full 90 minutes for Real Monarchs on Friday.
Real Salt Lake has an all-time record of 3-1-0 against NYCFC and a 2-0-0 record at Rio Tinto. Last year’s meeting between these two clubs resulted in a 4-0 home win for NYC. RSL has a home record of 7-2-1 in 2019 and is 5-0-0 against Eastern Conference opponents at RioT, who they have outscored 13-1.
Just two hours before last week’s match in Dallas it was publicly announced that head coach Mike Petke would be suspended pending an investigation into his actions after RSL’s Leagues Cup match against Tigres. On Tuesday afternoon Major League Soccer announced that Petke would be suspended for three matches and fined $25,000. Real Salt Lake added that Petke will be attending anger management courses and would be suspended from club activities for two weeks. Next Saturday’s match at Sporting Kansas City will be the last of this league-mandated suspension.
3. NYCFC is coming off a 3-1 home win against Sporting Kanas City last weekend where Heber Araujo dos Santos scored in his fifth consecutive match, the first player in NYCFC history to reach the milestone. Heber leads the team with nine goals and three assists while Maxi Moralez has six goals and thirteen assists. Moralez also participated in the MLS All-Star game this week, playing about 27 minutes, and it seems unlikely that he will play in Saturday’s match. NYCFC currently sit in 4th in the Eastern Conference at 9-3-8 and a road record of 4-2-4.
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake vs NYCFC begins on Saturday, August 3 at 7 PM, kick-off at 8 PM.