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Major League Soccer

Sporting KC fall 1-0 at Real Salt Lake



Credit: Thad Bell

It got chippy in Sandy, Utah with old rivals butting heads. Chicho Arango scored the lone goal for Real Salt Lake as Sporting KC extend their winless streak to five games.

Peter Vermes was forced into several changes at The RioT. Among those, John Pulskamp got his first start of the year in goal. Plus Robert Voloder was at CB in place of an injured Dany Rosero.

That new lineup was facing an RSL side who came into the match on a six-game unbeaten run. They have been red hot on the back of Arango who is putting up MVP numbers this year. His match winner tonight brought his total to nine goals and three assists.

While the visitors did have a few good chances in the first half, RSL dominated with 63% possession, four corner kicks, and eight shots.

Another change for Sporting KC was a surprise start for Marinos Tzionis. It was a big opportunity for the 22-year-old. He hadn’t made an appearance since October and hadn’t been playing much with SKCII either. Moreover, he was playing out position in the midfield.

The result was truly terrible. His touch was off. His decision making was poor. Sporting KC were unable to keep possession and string together passes through the midfield. Unsurprisingly, Tzionis was replaced at halftime by Felipe Hernandez.

The attack just wasn’t sharp enough for Sporting KC. Johnny Russell was back in the lineup making things happen, but even he was let down by a bad first touch in the box on the biggest chance of the half. Alan Pulido was largely silent and Daniel Salloi could only muster a long range shot right at the keeper.

The years of bad blood between these two teams began to boil in the second half.

The home side was lucky to keep all their players on the field.

Vermes couldn’t liked the way things were going and he was actually quite quick to make substitutions. Alenis Vargas came on for Russell in the 61st and then Agada for Pulido in the 74th.

The deciding moment came in the 81st minute. It felt inevitable after inching closer and hitting the post minutes before. It was the RSL #9 – who was playing as a #10 – with a textbook header off a set piece.

It’s back-to-back losses for SKC. Winless in their last five. That puts them in 10th place in the Western Conference with 10 points.

This next week bring US Open Cup action and SKC are traveling to Nebraska to face Union Omaha on Wednesday.

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