Sporting Kansas City
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Jeff Attinella had a huge game at Kansas City on Saturday, making eight saves – several of them fantastic – to keep a clean sheet and earn a point for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
Attinella talked about his big game with ABC 4’s Real Sports Live on Sunday, chatting with the station’s Dana Greene in studio about his performance in the scoreless draw at Sporting Park. Check out Attinella’s sit down above.
Real Salt Lake's commentary team Bill Riley and Brian Dunseth also previewed the Claret-and-Cobalt's next match, giving a quick breakdown of RSL's Saturday match at Philadelphia Union at the end of the show. Click here to watch their preview.
Real Salt Lake has had a bevy of big games to start the 2014 season – Saturday’s MLS Cup rematch at Sporting Kansas City might just be the biggest of them all.
Here are a few storylines to look out for ahead of Saturday’s match, which will be broadcast live on ABC 4 at 6:30 p.m. MT.
MLS Cup Rematch
Do we even need to say it? Saturday’s match will see RSL return to the scene of the crime, with the Claret-and-Cobalt heading back to Sporting Park for the first time since heartbreakingly dropping a shootout in MLS Cup 2013 last December. It’s a chance to exorcise some demons for RSL, which is just 1-5-3 in nine regular season and playoff games at Kansas City.
Will midweek USMNT duty affect either lineup?
A combined six players between the sides were in Phoenix this week for the U.S.’s 2-2 friendly draw against Mexico, with five – RSL’s Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando and Sporting’s Matt Besler and Graham Zusi – starting for the USMNT on Wednesday night. Rimando and Besler both wen the full 90 for Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad, while Beltran, Beckerman and Zusi all came out in the second half. RSL midfielder Luis Gil was also in Phoenix, but did not feature against Mexico. All six of the players will have only one training session with their respective club sides prior to Saturday’s contest. How RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar and his SKC counterpart Peter Vermes handle their international charges on Saturday will likely play a big role in the match – we’ll see who starts and who sits.
Fouls aplenty, fouls galore
It’s been well documented in the buildup to Saturday’s contest that these two teams don’t exactly like each other. SKC forward Dom Dwyer came right out and said it following Sporting’s win at Colorado last weekend, telling Kansas City’s postgame radio show that he hates RSL “very much.” Nat Borchers fired back a bit this week, saying that he loves [Dwyer’s] comments and that he “probably hates every team in the league.” Both matches between RSL and SKC last year were plenty physical, with RSL’s 2-1 loss v. SKC at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 20 featuring 26 fouls and seven bookings and MLS Cup seeing 40 total fouls and five bookings. Referee Armando Villarreal – who’s just 27 – will have a tough task on his hands managing the game on Saturday evening.
Can RSL stay unbeaten against rough schedule?
RSL is currently unbeaten in the Jeff Cassar era, taking two wins and two draws from matches at LA, at San Jose, home to LA and home to Toronto. The Claret-and-Cobalt is just one of just four unbeaten teams left in MLS. They’ll have their work cut out for them if they’re to keep that unblemished record intact on Saturday. Make sure you tune-in on ABC 4.
Two days until Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City renew their rivalry at Sporting Park.
Two days until RSL gets another bite at the apple.
KickTV's "Twenty Penalties, One Champion" retrospective on MLS Cup 2013 - Very painful, but very well-done.
If you're not pumped yet for Saturday's MLS Cup 2013 rematch at Sporting Kansas City, don't worry. This video will get you there.
Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers appeared on MLSsoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio on Monday, talking with Greg Lalas, Simon Borg and David Gass in a wonderful, wide-ranging interview.
Nat was at his best on the podcast, forthright, open and honest on a variety of topics, including RSL’s performance against Toronto FC, what makes Kyle Beckerman a great player, and the role of “bulletin board material” in the Claret-and-Cobalt locker room.
Borchers also addressed Saturday’s MLS Cup 2013 rematch at Sporting Kansas City. The veteran center back – who told media after Saturday’s win over Toronto that he’s “been thinking about [SKC] all offseason” – talked about Sporting forward Dom Dwyer’s RSL hatred, giving a bit of a surprise response when asked how he felt about the KC attacker’s statements.
“I love it, I don’t even consider that trash talk, that’s just being honest,” Borchers said. “I think when you look at the rivalry we have with Kansas City, it always just seems like two different ideologies of soccer. You’ve got us on the one side, we want to play this passing game, we want to create goals in this beautiful way. And you look at Kansas City, they can create goals that way too, but they also want to go very direct, especially at home where they’re very organized and very disciplined. And when you talk about hate, I’ll say it myself, I hate probably every team in this league and I think that’s what makes me a competitor, so I don’t think that’s trash talking at all.”
Click here to listen to Borchers’ entire ExtraTime Radio interview (it starts at the 6:00 minute mark). It’s well worth your time.
Real Salt Lake will take on Sporting Kansas City in a MLS Cup 2013 rematch on Saturday, with the Claret-and-Cobalt traveling to Sporting Park to take on the Eastern Conference power at 6:30 p.m. MT on ABC 4.
Saturday’s contest is the marquee matchup in MLS this weekend – you have fun up there on national TV, Portland and Seattle – and both sides are already amped for it.
“I’m excited,” RSL defender Tony Beltran told Bill Riley following RSL’s win over Toronto on Saturday. “I know the group is very excited. It’s going to be an interesting game, it’s going to be a fun game and I’m looking forward to it.”
Kansas City, as they are wont to do, took a bit of a different approach to express their – um – excitement ahead of Saturday’s match. Here’s Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber, following Kansas City’s 3-2 win at Colorado on Saturday:
Benny Feilhaber on @RealSaltLake: "They pride themselves on being the most possession-oriented team, but I don't know if I buy into that."
— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) March 30, 2014
And here’s KC forward Dom Dwyer, who scored a 92nd minute game-winner at the Rapids on Saturday:
— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) March 30, 2014
Incredibly painful, but incredibly well-done. Though we all already know how it ends, watching this, I couldn't help but hold out hope for a different outcome. Thanks to our RSL players and KickTV for producing such a good piece.
Real Salt Lake's path to 2014 trophies begins on Saturday at the LA Galaxy. ABC 4's coverage of the match starts at 8:00 p.m. MT.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman is currently in New York City as a part of MLS's annual media and marketing tour, making the rounds at a variety of media outlets with other notable players from around the league ahead of the season opening on March 8.
Kyle stopped by Fox Sports 1 earlier on Tuesday, appearing with LA's Omar Gonzalez and Kansas City's Matt Besler on Crowd Goes Wild. Kyle talked a bit about his personal life, changes he's seen in his 15 years in MLS and the U.S. national team's chances at this summer's World Cup. Give the entire segment a watch above.
Real Salt Lake lost MLS Cup 2013 in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, falling 1-1 (6-7) at Sporting Kansas City in a penalty kick shootout.
Here are a few interesting numbers from Saturday’s match
The shootout between RSL and Sporting KC went 10 rounds on Saturday, an MLS Cup record.
Real Salt Lake hit the woodwork a MLS Cup record three times in the run of play on Saturday, with Robbie Findley, Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales all hitting the woodwork during regulation. Counting Lovel Palmer’s penalty kick that bounced off the crossbar and out in the 10th round of the shootout, Real Salt Lake hit the woodwork four times on Saturday.
The temperature at kickoff at Sporting Park on Saturday was just 20 degrees Fahrenheit, another MLS Cup record.
Sporting Park was sold-out on Saturday, with 21,650 fans filling the stadium to capacity. The Real Salt Lake fans in attendance – the club’s entire 1,000 ticket allotment was sold and hundreds more RSL supporters bought tickets on the secondary market – was incredible throughout the match, singing and chanting through the cold, at times outshining the much larger contingent of SKC fans.