Real Salt Lake return home to face eastern conference opponent Chicago Fire for the only time in 2018 and for the first-ever RioT WHITEOUT, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. RSL is coming off a 0-0 draw against San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday. The match in San Jose was RSL HC Mike Petke’s last of his two-match suspension, while Joao Plata received a fine from the MLS Disciplinary Committee for simulation. The draw kept RSL in playoff position but only two points ahead of 7th place Vancouver. Real is now 9-9-4 in 6th place with 31 points and 1-8-2 on the road.
Mike Petke feels RSL is moving in the right direction on the road, and it’s good timing if they are, as the season is winding down. With just twelve regular season matches left, split evenly at six road and six home, it would be an ideal time to begin consistently picking up points on the road. Eight of RSL’s remaining twelve matches are against western conference opponents and five of those eight are away.
2. Although Albert Rusnak was subbed very early in San Jose due to a non-contact neck injury, he remains off Real Salt Lake’s injury report:
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), Alex Horwath (achilles 4/18/18), Luke Mulholland (back 5/2/18), David Horst (achilles 6/26/18), Ricky Lopez-Espin (knee 6/13/18), and Connor Sparrow (knee 7/2/18).
Real Salt Lake is 8-1-2 at home this season and haven’t lost at Rio Tinto Stadium since March 10th. RSL is 6-7-7 all-time and 3-3-3 in Utah against the Fire. The last time these two teams met at RioT was in 2016 when RSL defeated the Fire 3-1.
3. Chicago is currently on a five-match losing streak, their last win coming on June 30th against NYCFC. Nemanja Nikolic, the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner, has 10 goals and 1 assist for the Fire this season while Aleksandar Katai has 9 goals and 4 assists, Alan Gordon has 4 goals, and Bastian Schweinsteiger has 3 goals and 6 assists. Chicago’s reported injuries are as follows:
OUT: Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), Matt Polster (MCL surgery), Patrick McLain (hamstring injury), Grant Lillard (right quad injury), Dax McCarty (hamstring injury); QUESTIONABLE: Jorge Corrales (facial injury).
Chicago is sitting in 8th place in the east with 23 points and a record of 6-12-5. Chicago is 1-7-2 on the road.
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake versus Chicago Fire begins on Saturday, August 4th at 7 P.M. with Tom Hackett and Spencer Warne, kick-off is at 8 P.M. with Bill Riley and Jay Nolly.