Sporting Kansas City will travel to the Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake in the MLS on Saturday.
Both the sides are close in the Western Conference as it stands. RSL are eighth, and Kansas City are just a point behind them in tenth. Seventh place is the last spot for the playoffs, and both the sides are close in that race. Minnesota currently occupies that spot, and RSL are a point behind them. RSL have not won in their last four games in all competitions.
Three of those were MLS games, out of which they lost two. The other was a US Open Cup match against LAFC, who hammered RSL 3-0 on the night. LAFC were clearly the better team, and RSL had no answer for the MLS leaders. RSL’s last game was a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire in the MLS. Aleksandar Katai gave Chicago an early lead, but Albert Rusnak leveled the match for RSL.
Rusnak is the top scorer for RSL in the MLS, and he has scored six times this season in the league. Sam Johnson is just behind him with five goals. Their defense has been a significant letdown this season. RSL have conceded 28 goals this season. Only one team in the Western Conference has conceded more. Shoring up the backline will be the priority for coach Mike Petke.
Sporting Kansas City are also in the battle for playoffs spots, just like RSL. They are tenth in the west and two points below Minnesota in seventh. Kansas City have lost only one of their last six MLS games. They also played a US Open Cup game in between and lost 4-1 to Minnesota United in the fourth round. Now their sole aim is to get into the playoffs.
Sporting’s last game was against Columbus in the MLS. They won it 1-0, but it wasn’t an easy game by any standard. Felipe Gutierrez scored the lone goal for Kansas City in the win. Throughout the season, Kansas City have not had any problems for goals. They have scored 27 league goals, and only leaders LAFC have scored more in the Western Conference. The scoring burden has been distributed equally throughout the team.
Three players have score majority of those 27 goals for Kansas City. Krisztian Nemeth, Johnny Russell, and Felipe Gutierrez have all scored seven goals in the MLS so far. Russell could be out for the game against RSL, as he has a leg injury to deal with. Nemeth and Gutierrez should play, which would be enough firepower in attack for Kansas City.
Real Salt Lake vs Sporting KC Prediction
The teams are on a similar level, and a draw seems like the most accurate prediction. Both sides should score as well, and the total goals should be Under 2.5 in the game. Neither team has an excellent defensive record, and we could see quite a few goals in the game. A point for each side seems like the best bet.