Real Salt Lake returns to Rio Tinto Stadium after five weeks away from their home turf, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake is winless in their last three matches, all on the road against eastern conference opponents. RSL earned one point last weekend at Chicago Fire after Albert Rusnak converted a penalty kick in the 33rd minute to tie the match. With the draw, Real dropped to 8th place in the western conference with a record of 6-8-2 and 20 points.
Rusnak’s goal on Saturday brought him to six goals and two assists on the season, while Sam Johnson has five goals, Damir Kreilach and Jefferson Savarino have three goals and one assist each, Sebastian Saucedo has two goals and two assists, and Corey Baird has one goal and two assists.
2. Real Salt Lake has an all-time record of 11-9-8 against rivals Sporting Kansas City, who haven’t won a regular season match at Rio Tinto Stadium since their 2-1 victory in 2013, and are 8-3-3 at RioT. RSL and SKC faced off five times in 2018, including one U.S. Open Cup and two MLS Cup matches where SKC got their only two victories against RSL and knocked them out of both competitions. Real were 1-0-1 against Sporting in the regular season 2018.
Jefferson Savarino is still with the Venezuela national team, participating in the 2019 Copa America. Tony Beltran is questionable for Saturday’s match.
3. With a record of 4-5-7, SKC currently sits in 10th place in the western conference. Just one of their four wins has come against a western conference opponent and last week at Columbus they got their first road win of the season thanks to a Felipe Gutierrez goal just after halftime. With a rather long injury list that includes Graham Zusi (listed as questionable-abductor), Johnny Russell (out-leg), Roger Espinoza (out-PCL), Jimmy Medranda (out-hamstring), Gianluca Busio (out-head) it’s been a tough season for SKC. Russell leads SKC with 7 goals and 3 assists, Guitierrez and Kristian Nemeth have 7 goals and one assist each, and Busio has three goals. Saturday’s match is another opportunity for brothers Nick (RSL) and Matt (SKC) Besler to face off, once again. SKC has been outscored by opponents on the road 12-8 but ha a goal differential of zero with 27 goals for and 27 against.
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake vs Sporting Kansas City begins on Saturday, June 29 at 7 PM, kick-off at 8 PM.