Real Salt Lake Qualify For Round Of 16 Despite 2-0 Defeat To Sporting Kansas City

Jul 22, 2020, 9:32 AM | Updated: 10:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Sporting Kansas City in their final Group D outing. Despite the disappointing loss, RSL still qualified for the round of 16 by being one of the top 4 teams to finish third in the group stages.

Horrific Start

Despite not having conceded a goal in the tournament, Real Salt Lake went down 1-0 within the first minute of the match following a goal by Sporting Kansas City star Johnny Russel. The goal came following a corner kick in which the ball was pin-balled around the penalty spot before falling to the feet of Russel, a simple swipe of his left foot and the ball rocketed into the bottom right corner beating RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Final Third Issues

Following the goal RSL composed themselves and controlled the tempo of the game. They were the better team throughout the remainder of the match, created more opportunities, and looked to be the more dominant team.

Unfortunately, the claret and cobalt struggled with executing in their final third, a similar issue in which they struggled against Colorado Rapids.

Sporting Kansas City took advantage of their opportunities, however.

Game. Set. Match.

In the 86th minute, Sporting Kansas City winger Gerso cut in on his left foot and curled his shot into the top left corner of the net. Beating MacMath with ease. The goal certainly came against the run of play late in the game when it looked as though RSL was potentially going to pinch a point from their rivals.

SKC Against The Odds

Prior to this match, SKC had only beaten RSL on 1 occasion from the previous 14 meetings.

RSL was without Albert Rusnak who suffered a hip flexor injury during the first half of the match against Colorado. He is expected to be healthy and available for the knockout rounds.

RSL managed to pick up four points from a possible nine during the group stage campaign. Points during the group stage go directly towards your regular-season standings. Now RSL will be fighting for 2021 CONCACAF Champions League qualification as they set their sights on the knockout rounds.

It is yet to be determined who RSL will play in the Round of 16, that news is expected to be announced shortly.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett. 

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