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Sporting KC v Real Salt Lake: Preview, Injuries & Predictions

Sporting Kansas City return home to host first place Western Conference rivals, Real Salt Lake. Form, stats, injuries and more.

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Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake

When: Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 7:30 PM CT (7:40 kickoff)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: Apple MLS Season Pass

Sporting Kansas City will welcome their long-time rivals to town in a tale of two seasons. Real Salt Lake enter in first place in the Western Conference on the back of striker Chicho Arango’s MVP level season where he has 23 goal contributions just halfway through the year.

Despite being at the top of the table, it’s not all good news for RSL. They are missing multiple center backs and have been forced to rely on 20-year-old Bode Hidalgo who came up through the Real Monarchs (MLS Next Pro) to play next to Brayan Vera.

They’ll come to Kansas City looking to pick up their second straight win this year over lowly Sporting KC. These teams last met on May the 4th (may the force be with you) when RSL got a late win on a goal that was slightly offside. We’re not bitter.

It’s not quite a worst versus first matchup as Sporting KC’s win two weekends ago against the Seattle Sounders propelled them out of the basement. They sit three points clear of the San Jose Earthquakes, who do have a game in hand.

Sporting KC have looked a lot better offensively the last two weeks. Between the win against Seattle and the 2.9 xG against the LA Galaxy, they could be trending in the right direction. But the season is more than half over and they have to stop leaking goals and start picking up wins at a feverish pace. Ownership has made it clear Vermes is here to stay, the next step for him is proving they made the right decision.

What’s new for RSL in 2024?

This team isn’t wildly different than past seasons, but they’ve surged up the standings. Maybe it’s addition by subtraction? Maybe it’s just a full season of Chicho.

IN: Midfielder Matt Crooks, who arrived via transfer from Middlesbrough (England), is probably the biggest name on this list. He’s joined by fullback Alexandros Katranis from Piast Gliwice (Poland) and 16-year-old forward Fidel Barajas from the Charleston Battery (USL). Outside of that it’s mostly Homegrown signings and draft picks.

OUT: This list is littered with big names, but it seemingly has improved the team by losing them. DP Jefferson Savarino was transferred to Botafogo (Brazil). Damir Kreilach signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Whitecaps. And Rubio Rubin was sent out on loan to Queretaro (Mexico). Backup striker Danny Musovski also left (to Seattle), after being out of contract.

Kansas City’s Form

  • May 25th @ Portland Timbers – 1-2 Loss
  • May 29th vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 1-2 Loss
  • June 1st @ Minnesota United – 1-3 Loss
  • June 8th vs. Seattle Sounders – 2-1 Win
  • June 15th @ LA Galaxy – 2-4 Loss

At least the losing streak ended.

Salt Lake’s Recent Form

  • May 18th vs. Colorado Rapids – 5-3 Win
  • May 25th @ FC Dallas – 3-3 Draw
  • May 29th @ Seattle Sounders – 1-1 Draw
  • June 1st vs. Austin FC – 5-1 Win
  • June 15th @ CF Montreal – 0-0 Draw

To find a road win for Salt Lake you’ve got to go all the way back to April 27th against the Philadelphia Union. That includes a US Open Cup road loss to USL Championship side, New Mexico United. So that’s something. Maybe KC have an opening?

Injury/Availability Report

Official injury reports aren’t available until matchday minus one in the late afternoon/early evening, so here are last week’s report as we wait for today’s news. 

Sporting KC:

I’ve tweaked this slightly from last week based on who played and Tuesday’s practice.

[Update 3:56 PM: Pulido is now questionable. It was wrapped during last Saturday’s game. RSL’s list from last weekend is the same as Wednesday’s.]

[Update 5:53 PM: Apparently Matt Crooks is available for RSL.]

Salt Lake:

  • OUT – Kevin Bonilla (knee), Justen Glad (ankle), Erik Holt (hamstring), Pablo Ruiz (knee), Marcelo Silva (hamstring)
  • QUESTIONABLE – None

Suspensions

Sporting KC: None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: Andreu Fontas, Nemanja Radoja

Salt Lake: None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: Cristian Arango, Chukwuemeka Eneli, Andres Gomez, Alex Katranis, Brayan Vera

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Erik Thommy (4), Willy Agada, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell (3), Remi Walter, Dany Rosero, Alenis Vargas, Jake Davis (2), Nemanja Radoja, Memo Rodriguez, Daniel Salloi, Stephen Afrifa, Robert Castellanos, Marinos Tzionis (1)

Assists: Rodriguez (4), Salloi (3), Davis, Agada, Pulido, Russell, Khiry Shelton, Thommy (2), Andreu Fontas, Tim Leibold, Robert Voloder, Walter, Radoja (1)

Salt Lake

Goals: Chicho Arango (16), Andres Gomez (8), Anderson Julio (5), Diego Luna (3), Alex Katranis (2), two with one (1)

Assists: Arango (9), Luna (7), Gomez (6), Matt Crooks (4), Katranis (3), Fidel Barajas, Brayan Vera (2), seven with one (1)

Predictions

Despite the victory over Seattle, Sporting KC are still really struggling. They are 1-9-2 in their last 12 games, which is abysmal. Despite signs that things might not be all bad, it’s illogical to pick Kansas City to beat anyone until they can start stringing together positive results.

PREDICTION: 2-1 RSL Win

Three Potential Attacking Midfield Targets for Sporting KC

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