Rivalry Revisited: Memorable victories over Real Salt Lake

Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake were scheduled to square off Saturday at Children's Mercy Park, renewing a rivalry that reached a boiling point when the sides met in the 2013 MLS Cup.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted all Sporting matches through May 9 to be postponed. However, that doesn't have to stop us from taking a stroll down memory lane and revisiting six of Sporting's most memorable victories of Real Salt Lake.

Let's dive right in.

6. Russell Runs Rampant (June 6, 2018)

Johnny Russell’s first game against Real Salt Lake proved devastating. The Scottish forward scored the game-winner and assisted Kharlton Belmar’s late strike as Sporting eliminated RSL from the U.S. Open Cup in the fourth round. It was Sporting’s first win at Rio Tinto Stadium since 2013.

5. Springtime Stroll (April 29, 2017)

Unlike most contests between Sporting and RSL, this one wasn’t even close. Feilhaber’s sublime strike was the first of three goals for the hosts, who created early separation between themselves and RSL in the Western Conference table.

4. Opara at the Death (July 20, 2013)

Real Salt Lake fans still bemoan the fact that referee Matthew Foerster let stoppage time drag into the 97th minute without blowing his whistle to end the game. But with the score tied 1-1 on a scorching summer evening in Sandy, Utah, Sporting took full advantage. Ike Opara rose above the rest to nod home a Graham Zusi corner kick and stun the home crowd, serving as a dramatic precursor an MLS Cup rematch later that year.

3. The Open Cup Semifinal (Aug. 12, 2015)

The 2015 U.S. Open Cup semifinals presented RSL with an opportunity to exact revenge on Sporting two years after the rivalry truly exploded (we’ll get to that in a minute). The visitors took an early lead in this pulsating clash at Children’s Mercy Park, but late moments of magic from Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth turned the tide and paved the way for Sporting to claim the Open Cup title a month later in Philadelphia.

2. Veteran's Day Thriller (Nov. 11, 2018)

Five years had elapsed since Children’s Mercy Park last hosted a playoff match. On a cold and sunny Sunday last November, Sporting did everything they could to make up for it by serving their fans over 90 minutes of heart-pounding excitement in one of the greatest playoff games in club history. Diego Rubio scored early, Ilie Sanchez buried a penalty kick and Daniel Salloi struck twice as Sporting won a thriller over RSL to claim an aggregate victory in the Western Conference Semifinals.

1. The MLS Cup (Dec. 7, 2013)

In one of the most iconic games in league history, Sporting KC lifted their second MLS Cup at the expense of Real Salt Lake. This slugfest dripped with drama from beginning to end amidst arctic temperatures at Children’s Mercy Park, culminating in a wild penalty kick shootout that unfolded in front of the Cauldron. On that day, dreams came true in Sporting blue.

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