Real Salt Lake Eager To Protect Home Field In Date With Earthquakes
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake will return home for the final time this regular season as they prepare for a pair of home matches against San Jose and Portland, separated by just four days or rest.
The Final Stretch
San Jose is first on the cards as the Earthquakes enter Rio Tinto Stadium having recently lost to the Timbers 2-0 midweek. Real Salt Lake, on the other hand, enters the fixture having secured all three points in a dramatic come from behind fashion against FC Dallas.
The fixture against San Jose could further cement Real Salt Lake as a playoff-caliber team. As it currently stands, Real Salt Lake holds the final western conference playoff position with a game in hand, however, just five points separate the ninth-placed LAFC and fourth place Portland Timbers.
Three points against San Jose this upcoming Saturday will be pivotal as Real Salt Lake looks to protect its home field.
San Jose is no longer eligible to make the playoffs. With only two matches remaining on their schedule (including this Saturday against Real Salt Lake) the earthquakes sit eight points shy of the playoffs.
San Jose and Real Salt Lake have played in some incredibly exciting games this season. Most notably, the 4-3 win on September 15th when Rubio Rubin bagged a brace, Justin Meram, and Albert Rusnák added goals. Rubin’s second goal in the 81st minute was enough for Real Salt Lake to steal the chocolates that evening.
Real Salt Lake will likely be without Marcelo Silva, Toni Datkovic, and Zack Farnsworth for the fixture. Farnsworth is yet to play a game for Real Salt Lake this season, while the center-back pair of Silva and Datkovic did not make the most recent trip to Dallas suggesting that their availability is still unlikely.
The Almeyda Tenure
Matías Almeyda, despite having been at the helm since 2018, will once again miss the playoffs. The only year under Almeyda that San Jose has played in the MLS Playoffs came in 2020 following a COVID-19 stricken season.
Nonetheless, the earthquakes have some very formidable players. None more so than 18-year-old striker Cade Cowell who has appeared in 31 games scoring 4 goals and adding 4 assists. It has not been the year that Cowell would have hoped for, but Real Salt Lake must still be wary of the young American prodigy.
Argentine winger Cristian Espinoza is also a special talent who will look to find one-on-one situations to attack. The crafty playmaker, when given space, can be as elusive as anybody in the league.
San Jose under Almeyda provides a unique test for Real Salt Lake with their man-to-man defensive marking scheme. Real Salt Lake will need to win their individual battles if they hope to have any success against San Jose this weekend.
Real Salt Lake and San Jose will kickoff from Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, October 30, at 1: 30 p.m.
The match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports & KSL 5 TV app or on KSL Sports dot com.
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