The Week That Was
Sporting Kansas City has turned Sporting Park into an unfriendly confine, and Real Salt Lake was tested early on in this past week’s match. During the first 45 minutes, Sporting Kansas City was able to shut down RSL’s passing lanes and give the offense a lot of trouble. While their defense looked great, Sporting Kansas City wasn’t able to do much with their offense either. Elias Vasquez made his MLS debut, starting alongside Jamison Olave in the center back position.
RSL showed that they could adjust in the second half, as they became more creative. With the passing lanes opening up, RSL was able to look better offensively. Sporting Kansas City’s Dom Dwyer was able to slot a ball to the back of the neck but the offsides flag was up, taking away Dwyer’s goal. That shot proved to be the only shot on goal for the game, as RSL survived with a 0-0 tie, and earned a road point.
With New York Red Bulls on a bye this week, RSL and NYRB continue to be the only unbeaten teams in MLS play.
The Week Ahead
Up next, RSL will be in the friendly home atmosphere of the The RioT for 3 of the next 4 games. They will welcome in the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who sport an impressive 4-2-1 record in the early season. While Vancouver leads the Western Conference, RSL will be looking to secure 3 points and turn The RioT back into the fortress it once was.
Vancouver will be looking forward to the return of Mauro Rosales (ankle sprain), Gershon Koffie (MCL sprain), and Robert Earnshaw (sore knee). Also the club is hoping to have new Uruguayan striker Cristian Techera available for the game, as long as his paperwork is completed to join the team.
All eyes will be on Octavio Rivero, who is responsbile for five of the team’s nine goals this season. Another player to keep an eye on is their goalie: David Ousted. The Denmark native came to Vancouver in 2013, after spending three seasons with Danish Superliga club Randers FC, where he earned 35 clean sheets in his 103 appearances. In the MLS, his numbers haven’t shown to be as impressive as he contends with a near .500 record of 20-15-19.
Sizing Up The West
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 13 points (4-2-1)
FC Dallas – 10 points (3-2-1)
San Jose Earthquakes – 9 points (3-3-0)
Real Salt Lake – 9 points (2-0-3)
Sporting Kansas City – 9 points (2-1-3)
Houston Dynamo – 6 points (2-2-2)
LA Galaxy – 8 points (2-2-2)
Seattle Sounders FC – 7 points (2-1-1)
Colorado Rapids – 6 points (1-1-3)
Portland Timbers – 6 points (1-2-3)
Abdoulie Mansally – With the return of Jamison Olave, the defensive line has seemed to become a more physical force. The addition of Mansally to the starting eleven has also added a physical force. Mansally has started four of the five games, and subbed in the lone non-start. During that time, he has committed nine fouls, the same amount he had during his 11 appearances last year.
Mansally has been asked to come in and replace Chris Wingert as the defensive wing. While his style of play is not that of Wingert, Mansally has stepped in and added a physical style that RSL loves to play. Also, RSL brought in Jamaican International Demar Phillips. While Phillips has had a few set backs of late, Mansally has played up to the standard that is expected to allow Phillips to rest until he is ready to compete for the spot.
Fun Fact of the Week
71 wins. 13 losses. 32 ties. That is the home record that Real Salt Lake holds when it welcomes teams into Rio Tinto Stadium aka The RioT. The stadium opened up October 9, 2008 with RSL hosting the New York Red Bulls, ending in a 1-1 draw. Weeks later, the stadium hosted the first ever playoff game in RSL history, a 1-0 win against Chivas USA. Throughout 2010 and 2011, RSL held an undefeated streak of 34 games at home. The RioT became The Fortress.
In the last three full seasons (2012-2014), RSL has an impressive home goal differential of +46. During that span, the odds of RSL scoring a goal is 90%.