RSL Will Look To Pick Up Points Without Mike Petke Again
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will be attempting to defend Rio Tinto Stadium against NYCFC this Saturday at 8 p.m.
RSL will be without, yet again, their manager Mike Petke, who is suspended from all coaching duties after an MLS investigation found him guilty of using homophobic slurs towards referee John Pitti.
Despite the loss, RSL is coming off an impressive 0-0 draw against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium last week. RSL outplayed Dallas away from home and were deserving of three points on the round, regardless, Real ran away with a point and built some momentum heading into NYCFC.
NYCFC on the other hand, are comfortably sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They sit just four points behind the Philadelphia Union who lead the Eastern Conference with 39 points.
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 2, 2019
- Apr 11, 2018: NYC 4-0 RSL @ Yankee Stadium
- May 17, 2017: RSL 2-1 NYC @ Rio Tinto Stadium
- Jun 2, 2016: NYC 2-3- RSL @ Yankee Stadium
- May 23, 2015: RSL 2-0 NYC @ Rio Tinto Stadium
The good news is that RSL has never lost to NYCFC at Rio Tinto Stadium. In fact, RSL has only lost once to NYCFC. That loss coming last year as NYCFC embarrassed RSL to the tune of 4-0 at Yankee Stadium.
What You Need To Know About NYCFC
Head coach Domènec Torrent has been in charge of NYCFC since 2018. His tenure at the club has been promising as the club finished in third place in the East during his first season in charge. Despite making the playoffs, they lost in the second round to eventual MLS Cup champion Atlanta United.
Torrent plays a 3-4-3 formation, which allows NYCFC to dominate the midfield battle in most of the games they compete in. They are coming off a 3-1 home win against Sporting Kansas City in which they dominated 60 percent of possession. If RSL is going to beat NYCFC, they will need to control the tempo and pace of the game.
"We want to keep the ball a little longer so we can unbalance the opponent and create some chances moving forward" pic.twitter.com/AXrxQwThDi
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 2, 2019
Heber Araujo dos leads the team with nine goals on the season. The 27-year-old Brazilian is in his first year with the club, after being purchased, with target allocation money, from HNK Rijeka, a first division Croatian club. In both June and July of this season, Heber scored a combined six goals and in their last MLS game he scored the teams second goal. He is in form and will be a big ask for the back line of RSL.
NYCFC’s dominant midfield is headlined by Alexander Ring and Maximiliano Moralez. The duo have combined for 17 assists on the season thus far. NYCFC has scored 36 goals on the year. The duo of Ring and Moralez have been involved in seventy two percent of the goals scored by NYCFC.
Their goalkeeper is no slouch either, Sean Johnson has saved 31 shots from 52 shots faced and has 6 clean sheets on the season so far. Johnson has been a member of the USMNT roster under Gregg Berhalter and is one of the premier goalkeepers in Major League Soccer. The American is just 30 years of age and is entering the prime of his career.
RSL Club Update
As mentioned earlier in the article, Petke will not be available to coach this week. In fact, Petke has had no part in the buildup to the NYCFC as he is suspended from all team activities. To read more about Petke’s suspension:
Freddy Juarez will take over the role as manager for the match with NYCFC.
Nedum Onuoha is back and training with the group after heading back to England to sort out Visa issues. Onuoha is probable to play against NYCFC. Also probable, is RSL midfielder and key member of RSL, Albert Rusnak, who suffered a knee strain against Minnesota United before being subbed off in the 77th minute. He is back training and is likely to start against the boys in blue.
Tony Beltran remains unlikely to play as he is recovering from a long stint on the sideline with a knee injury. While star striker Sam Johnson is slowly returning to the main group after injuring his upper quad against Columbus some four weeks ago.
Nick Rimando traveled to Florida and took part in his final MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday. The MLS veteran played 31 minutes in the 3-0 loss against Atletico Madrid. Rimando conceded two goals during his time on the pitch.
"It's special to have them pick me and honor me in my last year." pic.twitter.com/Sv0L8ED8SD
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 1, 2019
The match against NYCFC will kick off at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
The match can be streamed live on KSLSports.com or on the KSL TV app.
KSLSports.com, in collaboration with Real Salt Lake, has launched a new podcast, The RSL Lion’s Den. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all club news and updates. KSL Sports analysts Spencer Warne, along with RSL PR director Matt Gashck and I break down the games and discuss important club matters.
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