Real Salt Lake is back on the road this weekend to take on the Columbus Crew. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake drew 1-1 with the San Jose Earthquakes at Rio Tinto Stadium last Saturday, ending their 6-match league win streak at home. Damir Kreilach netted his 3rd goal of the season, adding to his four assists, but San Jose equalized just ten minutes later via Danny Hoesen.
The draw against San Jose took Real Salt Lake to 7-7-2 and 27 points on the season and 4th place in the western conference. Corey Baird remains RSL’s top scorer with 4, Albert Rusnak has 3 goals and 4 assists, Joao Plata has 3 goals and 1 assist, Luis Silva has 3 goals, Jefferson Savarino has 2 goals and 2 assists, and Sebastian Saucedo has 1 goal and 3 assists.
2. David Horst landed back on the injury list week after tearing his achilles tendon with the Real Monarchs on Tuesday night, but Joao Plata got off the list when he saw time against San Jose after a couple weeks out due to an abdominal strain.
QUESTIONABLE: Luke Mulholland (back 5/2/18).
OUT: Tony Beltran (knee 10/15/17), Jordan Allen (knee 6/16/17), Shawn Barry (knee 3/10/18), Demar Phillips (ankle 4/7/18), and Alex Horwath (achilles 4/18/18), David Horst (achilles 6/26/18).
3. RSL is 5-11-4 against Columbus all-time and 1-8-1 at Columbus, with their lone win coming in 2006. Real Salt Lake’s last visit to the Crew in 2016 played to a 4-3 loss for the Claret & Cobalt and the 2017 matchup between the two sides ended in a 2-2 draw at Rio Tinto. But Real Salt Lake’s road record continues to be a talking point this season, with just 1 win and 1 draw, RSL is 1-5-1 away from home. Assistant GM Elliot Fall feels that the key to success against the Crew is staying organized:
4. Coming off back-to-back 2-0 losses, Columbus has a record of 7-5-6 and 27 points on the season, leaving them in 4th place in the eastern conference, and a home record of 5-2-3. But while RSL has been on a good run of form, Columbus is winless in their last five league matches including two draws and one loss at home. The Crew have outscored opponents 18-14 at home, scoring three goals in four matches but have kept only two clean sheets at home this season. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who has 7 shutouts in 14 matches, recently underwent knee surgery and will miss his second consecutive match. Milton Valenzuela is out due to suspension, Josh Williams is ruled out due to injury, and Mohammed Abu is questionable.
5. Ola Kamara, who had 2 goals in 2017 and 3 goals in 2016 for the Crew against RSL, was traded to L.A. Galaxy between seasons (that didn’t stop from scoring against RSL on June 9th) but that hasn’t slowed down the Crew’s attack. In exchange for Kamara, Columbus acquired Gyasi Zardes who has 10 goals and has started all 18 matches for the Crew, and Frederico Higuain has 4 goals and 7 assists 18 appearances.
Our pre-game coverage of Real Salt Lake at Columbus Crew begins on Saturday, June 30th at 4:30 P.M., with kick-off at 5:30 P.M. on ESPN 700.