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Sporting KC v Real Salt Lake: Preview, Predictions & How to Watch

Real Salt Lake are arriving in top form to Kansas City. Sporting KC will look to earn increasingly valuable points at home. We have your preview.

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Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake

When: Wednesday, July 12, 2023 at 7:30 PM CT (7:39 kickoff)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: Apple MLS Season Pass

Sporting Kansas City are fighting for their playoff lives. As they continue to attempt to dig out of the hole they left themselves in after a brutally bad 10-game start to the season, they are on the cusp of a playoff spot, but they’ve played more games than everyone else in the Western Conference.

Sporting KC currently sit in 10th place, one spot out of the play-in game for the MLS Cup Playoffs. They are level on points with the Vancouver Whitecaps, but trail in goal differential (and Vancouver have three games in hand).

Real Salt Lake on the other hand find themselves sitting in fourth place, level on points with third place LAFC (who have a game in hand and a GD advantage as well). They are only five points behind first place St. Louis (compared to 13 points back for KC).

Kansas City absolutely control their destiny with so many teams getting in. They just need to win. That’s easier said than done. They fumbled a lead twice against the Houston Dynamo this past Saturday and are in a situation where they must win basically all their home games. Salt Lake will be a tough test. SKC have struggled against them historically and they are quite hot right now.

RSL’s Recent Form

  • June 17th @ D.C. United – 2-1 Win
  • June 21st @ St. Louis City SC – 3-1 Win
  • June 24th vs. Minnesota United – 2-2 Draw
  • July 1st @ Toronto FC – 1-0 Win
  • July 8th vs. Orlando City – 4-0 Win

Including the US Open Cup, RSL are unbeaten in their last eight games. They are possibly the hottest team in the league.

What’s new for RSL since 2022?

Real Salt Lake have been busy under their newer ownership group.

OUT: They traded fullback Aaron Herrera to CF Montreal for a solid return. They lost DP striker Sergio Cordova to the Whitecaps (you’ll remember him as the guy that kicked Kendall McIntosh in the face last week). RSL also loaned out defender Jaziel Orozco to Santos Laguna (Mexico) and Jonathan Menendez to Newell’s Old Boys (Argentina) before terminating his contract. Just recently, they dealt Justin Meram to Charlotte FC. In vaguely KC related news, they declined the option of Matt Besler’s brother, Nick and Bobby Wood (who had been linked, maybe just by us, to SKC).

IN: The additions are fewer than the subtractions, but there are some big ones. They just spent $6 million acquiring Designated Player striker Cristian Arango from Pachuca (Mexico) who had just left for that same sum from LAFC in the offseason (though LA had a sell-on percentage). They also made a big U-22 signing in Nelson Palacio from Atlético Nacional (Columbia). So, while Sporting KC are basically out of money and maneuverability, RSL are swinging big.

Before this midseason signing frenzy, they added forward Carlos Andres Gomez from Millonarios (Columbia), defender Brayan Vera from América de Cali (Columbia) and Moses Nyeman on loan from SK Beveren (Belgium).

Gutierrez and Disappointing Results are Back!

Injury Report

Sporting KC:

No changes to the report from last weekend’s game against the Houston Dynamo.

Salt Lake:

7/11/23 – 4:36 PM: Here is the updated RSL injury report. 

Suspensions

Sporting KC: None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: Erik Thommy

Real Salt Lake: None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: Justen Glad, Braian Ojeda, Brayan Vera

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Alan Pulido (10), Daniel Salloi (4), Erik Thommy (3), Johnny Russell, Gadi Kinda (2), Dany Rosero, Willy Agada, Felipe Hernandez, Robert Castellanos, Khiry Shelton, Remi Walter (1)

Assists: Erik Thommy (5), Daniel Salloi, Gadi Kinda (4), Tim Leibold, Alan Pulido, Remi Walter (3), Johnny Russell, Roger Espinoza, Marinos Tzionis, Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas, Robert Voloder (1)

Salt Lake

Goals: Jefferson Savarino (5), Justen Glad, Damir Kreilach, Danny Musovski, Pablo Ruiz (4), Anderson Julio (3), Rubio Rubin (2), four with one (1)

Assists: Andres Gomez, Ruiz (5), Andrew Brody, Savarino (4), Maikel Chang, Diego Luna, Musovski, Bryan Oviedo (3), Jasper Loeffelsend, Ojeda (2), six with one (1)

Predictions

Predict the Lineup: Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake

As if Real Salt Lake being in form wasn’t bad enough, they are on a 10-game road unbeaten streak. 10! They haven’t lost on the road since April 15th at FC Dallas. Sporting Kansas City can’t boast quite the same streak, but both teams are mostly in form lately. Since the beginning of May, only RSL have more points in the West than Kansas City (23 to 22), though KC have faltered more recently.

If recent head-to-head results are any indication, the home team usually has the advantage. In 2022, even though Sporting KC were terrible, they won their home game against RSL (and RSL did the same when they hosted). Overall, though, RSL leads the all-time regular season series with a 16-12-8 record. Their most recent playoff game was also a 2-1 Real Salt Lake win at Children’s Mercy Park in 2021.

Add to this Sporting having played a fatiguing road game against Houston over the weekend and the awful temperatures expected Wednesday and it could be a slog. While Sporting KC really need to win, I’m lacking confidence. Maybe all the weekend rotation will pay off with the early subbing of many starters. Plus, Felipe Gutierrez is said to be available, which could help sure up the defensive midfield.

PREDICTION: 1-1 Draw


On a very unimportant note, many members of the KC Soccer Journal will be playing in a media game at halftime of this matchup. Somehow, I’ve been isolated on the Indigo team away from my colleagues. A recent Shades of Blue has me nervous for my physical health. Keep me in your thoughts. Hopefully it’s all just mind games, which are unnecessary since I’m bad at soccer.

As far as how the game will go, it’s only my second media game ever. I didn’t play in the SKC one last year but did play in the KC Current game. It was a disorganized mess and my lack of training or physical acumen will likely help contribute to more of the same this year. If you make it to the game, don’t look for me. I’ll probably be gassed before I even get on the field.


BTW — Does it look like RSL in the photo at the top of the page? Well, it’s the Seattle Sounders. I used that photo because it’s RSL’s colors and I wanted to make fun of Seattle a bit.

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