Match Preview

Match Preview: Sporting KC on road at Real Salt Lake on Saturday in must-win match for playoff pursuit

Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 33
Saturday, Oct. 7 | 8:30 p.m. CT (8:39 kickoff)
America First Field | Sandy, Utah

Broadcast Schedule:
Apple TV | MLS Season Pass
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Sporting Kansas City will continue the club's push for the postseason against Real Salt Lake at 8:30 p.m. CT this Saturday at America First Field in the team's final away trip, and penultimate match, of the regular season.

Sitting three points outside playoff position with two games to go, Sporting KC is one of seven teams vying for the final three playoff spots in the tightly-contested Western Conference standings. While a win on Saturday could move Sporting above the playoff line, a loss or draw could result in the club's elimination from postseason contention.

RSLvSKC Playoff Scenarios

Sporting KC will be eliminated from the playoff race on Saturday if...

  • FC Dallas beat or tie San Jose, and
  • Sporting KC lose to Real Salt Lake


  • FC Dallas beat San Jose, and
  • Austin FC beat LAFC, and
  • Sporting KC tie Real Salt Lake

Led by head coach Pablo Mastroeni, Real Salt Lake have clinched a playoff berth for a third straight season thanks to a summer surge up the standings highlighted by the best record in the Western Conference since the start of June (9-4-3). Currently fourth in the table, RSL now have three matches remaining to determine the club's postseason seeding with the potential to climb as high as second or fall as far as ninth.

Saturday will mark Real Salt Lake's regular season home finale at America First Field, where RSL has conceded the most home goals (24) and suffered the most home losses (6-6-4) in Major League Soccer this season. However, the hosts are riding the momentum of back-to-back victories including a 1-0 upset of reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC last weekend.

Cristian Arango, acquired in a transfer from CF Pachuca during this summer, scored the decisive goal against his former team and Arango now has five goals in his last six MLS matches. The Colombian international is joined in the attack by Venezuelan international Jefferson Savarino, who leads Real Salt Lake with six goals and six assists this season, as well as fellow forward Danny Musovski, who has recorded five goals and four assists in his first full season for RSL.

Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake, who met nearly 10 years ago in the 2013 MLS Cup at Children's Mercy Park, most recently played to a 2-2 draw in July. Wingers Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell gave Sporting a 2-0 halftime lead before RSL rallied behind second-half goals from Musovski and Anderson Julio.

Russell has six goals and five assists in 13 appearances against Real Salt Lake across all competitions, including a goal and an assist in the previous match-up this season, and the club captain will return from suspension after missing last weekend's 4-1 loss in St. Louis. Willy Agada struck for a second straight match in the defeat and his 11 goals since arriving in Kansas City last summer are the firth most in club history through 25 regular season appearances.

Sporting is 8-0-2 in matches following losses across all competitions since April and will look to bounce back once more on Saturday with the club's full array of attackers available to Manager Peter Vermes. Alan Pulido has a team-best 17 goal contributions (14 goals, three assists) this year after missing all of 2022 through injury - including an MLS-best 12 goals since the start of June - while Erik Thommy (four goals, 12 assists) and Daniel Salloi (eight goals, eight assists) are tied for second on the team with 16 goal contributions in all competitions.

Saturday's showdown will be available on Apple TV in English and Spanish for MLS Season Pass subscribers (sign up for free trial). Local radio coverage will also air on Sports Radio 810 WHB as well as La Grande 1340 AM with streams in the Sporting KC app. In addition,  pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network will show all of the action including a watch party at No Other Pub (1370 Grand Blvd.) in the KC Power & Light District starting at 7:30 p.m. and featuring $4 domestics, $5 wells and 50% off select appetizers.