Sporting Kansas City vs Real Salt Lake

Children’s Mercy Park forms the backdrop for a lopsided Major League Soccer encounter between beleaguered Sporting Kansas City and high-flying Real Salt Lake.

An embarrassing 4-2 away defeat to LA Galaxy last weekend further complicated Kansas City’s situation in the Western Conference, leaving them second from bottom, seven points below the playoff line. Ominously for the home side, they lament the worst form chart in the division, having lost eight of their last nine MLS games, except for a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph against Seattle Sounders in their latest home outing. As the pressure mounts on manager Peter Vermes, the Wizards turn to a must-win home clash against Western Conference leaders RSL, a side they’ve only defeated once in their four previous H2Hs at this stadium (D1, L2). Improving that paltry return seems unlikely for the second-worst home team in the west (W2, D3, L4), especially considering they’ve yet to keep a clean sheet in home league action this term.

In contrast to Kansas City’s woeful start to the season, Real Salt Lake have gone from strength to strength, racking up an eye-catching 89% unbeaten ratio (W9, D7, L2) en route to assuming the top place in the Western Conference. But no strangers to sharing the spoils – as evidenced by the fact that 39% of their league fixtures have ended level – the visitors have drawn three of their last four league outings (W1). RSL’s well-documented habits of ‘playing not to lose’ have contributed to their four most recent MLS travels producing stalemates, only one of which ended goalless, though. But it’s still worth noting that they’ve netted under 1.5 goals in their last two away league games after firing in multiple goals across their four previous MLS road trips.

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