Sporting Kansas City is set to host Real Salt Lake on Sunday for the Western Conference semifinal match to revive one of the premier rivalries in Major League Soccer. Real Salt Lake qualified after a shocking victory over clear favorites Seattle Sounders, managing the feat with zero shots in 120 minutes of play.
The game will not be easy for the underdogs as Sporting Kansas City prove to be one of the most vigilant contenders.
Here’s what you need to know about the second round playoff fixture in the Western Conference...
What TV channel is Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake on?
When is kick off? Sunday, November 28th, 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Where is the match being played? Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
What TV channel is it on? ABC, ESPN Deportes
What streaming is it on? ESPN App
Sporting KC team news
Sporting KC took a massive 3-1 home victory over Vancouver Whitecaps last Saturday, with three different players scoring for the team. After failing to secure the top seed in the Western Conference at the end of the regular season, SKC are looking to buck the disappointing trend and advance in the postseason.
With a matchup against rivals RSL, who SKC lost to in both regular season matchups, the stakes have never been higher. The team is focused on mental preparation and toughness ahead of a difficult match.
“We’ve shown a fantastic mentality throughout the whole season. When we have lost those games, we’ve come back and won the next one,” defender Graham Zusi said. “We’ve come back from being down in games as well. I don’t question this group's mentality at all. But you’ve got to bring it every single match.”
Real Salt Lake team news
Despite not taking a single shot all night, let alone a shot on goal, Real Salt Lake advanced in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 0-0 (6-5) win in penalty kicks against No. 2 seed Seattle Sounders Monday night in Seattle.
While Seattle took 21 shots, they failed to score thanks to a standout performance from goalkeeper David Ochoa, helping to set his team up with a chance to take down a bitter rival in the most important part of the season.
“For me the most important thing is that the players are playing with a lot of confidence and everyone has a different way of showing that,” interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “With David, from the start of the game I knew he was going to be lights out because when he takes on that confident persona he is dialed in. That’s his way of staying present, staying focused and coming up with big plays and tonight he did that.”
Kansas City: Melia; Marins, Fontas, Sanchez, Zusi; Espinoza, Walter, Kinda; Salloi, Russell, Shelton
Salt Lake: Ochoa; Holt, Herrera, Glad, Chang; Luiz, Ruiz, Brody; Rusnak, Rubin, Kreilach
Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake head to head record
In the all-time history of this Western Conference rivalry, the two teams are even at 15-15-9. The teams met in the 2013 MLS Cup Final, with SKC lifting the club’s second MLS Cup in a 1-1 (7-6) home win. In the first meeting this season, RSL took home a 3-1 win in Utah on May 5th. In the second matchup on Decision Day, it was Damir Kreilach’s last-minute goal giving his RSL a 1-0 win on Decision Day.
Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake score prediction
RSL has a 2-0 series lead so far this season, and if their late-season luck has been any indication so far, it could very well become 3-0. The offense will have to pick up the pace after a poor showing in the win over Seattle, but it is not wise to bet against the hot hand, and there might not be a team in MLS hotter than Real Salt Lake right now.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake 1-0 Sporting KC