Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake
2022 MLS Regular Season | Match 22
Sunday, July 17 | 8:30 p.m. CT (8:38 kickoff)
Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, Utah
Local TV | 38 The Spot
Streaming | SportingKC.com, SKC App, ESPN+
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City (5-11-5, 20 points) will conclude a three-game road trip on Sunday when the club takes on Real Salt Lake (8-6-6, 30 points). The MLS Heineken® Rivalry Week match-up will kick off 8:30 p.m. CT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah as Sporting plays the team's third road match - in three different time zones - in a nine-day span.
The Western Conference clash will be locally televised on 38 The Spot with three hours of coverage beginning at 8 p.m. CT. The broadcast will also stream live on SportingKC.com and in the Sporting KC app for viewers in Kansas and Missouri (excluding the St. Louis area per MLS policy), as well as ESPN+ for out-of-market subscribers.
Sunday's match will also air locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM. In addition, Sporting KC Pub Partners across the Midwest will be showing the match including an enhanced watch party in the Turn 2 Sports Bar & Restaurant at Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan., featuring food and drink specials, the largest TV in Kansas and $10 in mycash for all attendees.
Sporting Kansas City will be playing on the road for a league-high eighth time in the past 10 weeks and will be doing so on Sunday against the best home team in MLS. Real Salt Lake is unbeaten at Rio Tinto Stadium in 2022 with a 6-0-3 record and five shutouts in the club's nine home matches.
After starting the season with losses in five straight road matches, Sporting has garnered points in five of the team's last seven road trips (2-2-3) including a 2-1 win at CF Montreal last weekend and a 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC on Wednesday. Sporting Kansas City came from behind in both road results with Johnny Russell coming off the bench in the mid-week match to score the equalizer on an assist from 19-year-old right back Kayden Pierre, who became the second youngest SKC player all-time to record a primary assist in a regular season match.
Russell leads Sporting with eight goals in all competitions this year and the Scottish winger is the first player in club history to score six regular season goals in five straight years. The 32-year-old club captain scored the decisive goal in Sporting's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in March, continuing his history of success in the series with three goals and two assists in seven regular season appearances against RSL.
For more than a decade - dating back to a preseason encounter in 2011 - fiercely contested match-ups between Sporting and Real Salt Lake have organically grown the series into a rivalry highlighted by three meetings in the U.S. Open Cup and three fixtures in the MLS Cup Playoffs -- none bigger than 2013 MLS Cup when Sporting prevailed in penalties. More recently, RSL won all three matches versus SKC in 2021, including a controversial 1-0 victory on Decision Day. The result propelled Real Salt Lake into the postseason where they eliminated Sporting in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Real Salt Lake are currently tied for third place in the Western Conference standings, however are winless in their past four matches after a 2-1 defeat in Atlanta on Wednesday. Kansas City native Nick Besler, the younger brother of former Sporting KC captain Matt Besler, made his first MLS start of the year in the match and defender Johan Kappelhof scored his first MLS goal in his 151st regular season appearance.
Led by head coach Pablo Mastroeni, Real Salt Lake will be without two of the club's highest paid players with Damir Kreilach (back) and Bobby Wood (abductor) sidelined. In addition, Designated Player Jefferson Savarino (hip flexor) missed the team's last match and centerback Justen Glad (hamstring) has been held out of the past three games.
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes will also be shorthanded on Sunday with five players confirmed out, including Designated Players Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda to long-term knee injuries as well as centerbacks Andreu Fontas and Kortne Ford to suspensions. In addition, World Cup veteran Graham Zusi (quad) is questionable after a three-game absence as is goalkeeper Tim Melia (shoulder), who missed his first regular season match on Wednesday.
Following Sunday's match, The Final Whistle postgame show will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Chad Reynolds and Dave Borchardt. Listeners can tune in via the Sporting KC mobile app or online at 810WHB.com.