MLS: Real Salt Lake- Sporting KC
Big rivalry between these two and recent encounters have been "spicy" and are always very physical. To that end alone, I feel that SKC are at a disadvantage given that they have played Saturday-Tuesday- Friday over the last week and due to injury and international call ups, could barely rotate for the midweek US Open Cup game and 13 of the 14 who played against Houston in the last league game, also featured on Tuesday when they took almost an hour to get on top of the ten men of Houston, in what was an incredibly hard fought encounter. The way the match played out meant that head coach Peter Vermes felt unable to make two substitutions until injury time and this must be a team running on empty right now and I doubt a battle against a bitter rival just three days later and on the road is going to suit them. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the form of Sporting and their only loss in 14 starts was here in Salt Lake just five weeks ago, but nine of those fixtures were at home and of the five on the road they are 1-3-1 and that sole victory aside, it is over a year since they won on the road without a goal from Zusi or Opara who are both absent this evening.
RSL are missing key players too, with Olave, Beckerman and Rimando unavailable, but they have had a free midweek to prepare solely for this and have only left Salt Lake once, for the short hop to play Colorado, in the last month and will clearly be the fresher of the two squads. They felt they played their best football of the season in the first half of the last meeting, when they really took the game to SKC and could have been 2-3 up at the break, we might well see a similarly flying start from them this evening and to be honest, I do not feel that the visitors should be favourites for this. Hosts are very strong at home and have lost just once in 26 home starts since early June last year, they pride themselves on the Rio Tinto Stadium being a fortress and with two road games up next and already six points adrift of a post season spot they see as theirs by right, this is a fixture they have to get something from.
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