Real Salt Lake’s Heated Rivalry History With Sporting Kansas City

Nov 4, 2018, 6:02 PM | Updated: 7:43 pm

SANDY, Utah – RSL will face Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference Semifinals. The first leg of the two-game aggregate series will begin at Rio Tinto Stadium with the return trip to Kansas City on Sunday, November 11.

KSL Sports dives into the heated rivalry through the years, including a history of both teams jerseys.

March 2011

RSL and SKC played a preseason friendly¬†in Arizona that turned into a bench-clearing brawl after Sporting’s Roger Espinoza made a hard tackle on Real’s Javier Morales. The preseason match was called after the altercation.

July 2013

Real Salt Lake played Sporting Kansas City at home and RSL’s Chris Wingert leveled Kei Kamara in the first seven seconds after kick off. He eventually got two yellow cards¬†and left the match – SKC won the game, 2-1.

December 2013

The Real Salt Lake team poses on the pitch before of the start of the game against Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 MLS Cup at Sporting Park on December 7, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The two teams battled for the leagues top prize, MLS cup in Kansas City. The field at Mercy Park was literally frozen as the temperature dipped to -7¬į C (20¬į F). The match was one for the ages, with RSL drawing first blood in the 52nd minute with a goal from Alvaro Saborio after a cheeky no-look pass from Kyle Beckerman.

Kyle Beckerman #5 of Real Salt Lake controls the ball during the MLS Cup Final against the Paulo Nagamura #6 of Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park on December 7, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The 76th minute, SKC’s¬†Aurelien Collin headed in a goal off a corner kick to level the match, eventually sending the game¬†to penalty kicks. After a thrilling series of penalty kicks, Real had the chance to win it but Sebastian¬†Velasquez¬†hit the crossbar leading to Aurelien Collin scoring the game winner.

April 2015

Sporting Kansas City was moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference leading to the two rivals meeting more than once. Not only that, SKC’s Benny Feilhaber stated in a press conference,” I don’t like them, I like playing against them, I like beating them…” That year they beat RSL in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup semifinals.

Jersey History

Now both teams will face off in the 2018 MLS Cup playoff race, but instead of breaking down the teams.. KSL Sports will breakdown the jersey design for the 2013 MLS Cup match between RSL and SKC – my favorite jersey match up in MLS Cup history to date:

In 2012, RSL released the controversial asymmetrical kit, the cobalt sleeve. It is the first asymmetrical jersey for the club and for many, including myself, the best looking jersey. I was absolutely in love with the cobalt sleeve – the tapered side panels look modern and clean. My only gripe is the yellow trim around the sleeves and neck, it’s a bit much.. but the flipping of the colors from yellow to red on the away jersey Adidas shoulder tape is a nice contrast.

To me, this jersey brings back a lot of fond memories – Saborio was a scoring machine, Javier Morales was in his prime, the RSL defense was stout with Rimando in goal, Nat Borchers and (a healthy) Chris Schuler in back. Kyle Beckerman was the dread pirate and the team was the star with young up-coming talents like Joao Plata, Luis Gil and Jeff Attinella.

But I also understand how this kit can also bring¬†bad memories, including¬†the MLS Cup loss and¬†coach Jason Kreis’ departure for NYCFC. For the superstitious, it was nice for RSL to go back to an asymmetrical home jersey for 2014*.

 *the 2014 RSL home jersey is THE worst RSL kit in my opinion, including the victory gold jerseys (more on this another time)

Sporting Kansas City unveiled this jersey in February¬†2013 and I’m not sure if it was on purpose – but their dark indigo, left sleeve is almost a mirror image to that of their rivals. The jersey is well done, the alternating blues with the Adidas stripes and the monochrome front sponsor give it a really clean look. The new asymmetrical design is a stylized motif of the state line between Kansas and Missouri, which splits Kansas City. It even meets perfectly with the state line motif in the club crest. Clean, simple and meaningful – three things that are essential to me in jersey design.¬†

We’ll see how RSL looks against their Western Conference foe.¬†But, no matter how they perform,¬†RSL and SKC are bound to look great together on the pitch. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

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Real Salt Lake’s Heated Rivalry History With Sporting Kansas City