Real Salt Lake Poised For Another Road Test As Easter Sunday Clash With NYCFC Looms

Apr 15, 2022, 3:15 PM
Photo courtesy: Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake....
Photo courtesy: Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake.

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake’s tough start to the season continues with a daunting road test against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium this weekend.

Real Salt Lake enters the fixture in the third position in the Western Conference coming off a disappointing 2-2 draw at home against Toronto. While New York finds themselves towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference in 14th position having generated just 4 points from 5 matches played.

NYCFC Struggle To Date

NYCFC has struggled so far in 2022 following a grueling start to the season that has involved both MLS fixtures and CONCACAF Champions League matches. Most recently, NYCFC drew 1-1 with Seattle Sounders midweek at home but lost on aggregate 4-2 to be eliminated in the semifinal of the tournament.

During that midweek encounter with Seattle, NYCFC manager Ronny Deila opted for a full-strength lineup with the hope of overcoming the first-leg deficit making for upcoming selection drama ahead of the encounter with Real Salt Lake.

Surprisingly, no NYCFC player is yet to score multiple goals. The club currently has a total of five players who have all scored one goal on the season. The same can also be said regarding the assist tally.

Real Salt Lake Health

Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni’s injury issues are improving, finally. David Ochoa, Erik Holt, and Justen Glad all remained sidelined. While Bobby Wood, Aaron Herrera, and Rubio Rubin are now available. Jonathan Menéndez’s health is questionable as the Argentine has not been seen on a matchday roster since starting on the road against Sporting Kansas City on March 26.

Promising Form A Week Ago

Throughout the recent draw with Toronto, Real Salt Lake showcased some of its most captivating soccer under manager Pablo Mastroeni who was signed to a full-time role following the conclusion of the Western Conference playoff run that concluded last season.

Captain Damir Kreilach returned to the starting XI and got back on the scoresheet in the 43rd minute following a wonderful delivery from Maikel Chang.

Yankee Stadium is a venue very few soccer players enjoy visiting due to its narrow, small, and frequently congested nature. Chang, however, is not one of those players. The 30-year-old Cuban grew up a big Yankees fan and still to this day follows The Bombers. Aldoris Chapman, the closer for the Yankees, is a sports figure in which Chang follows the closest. The fixture this weekend is poised to be a special moment in the professional career of Chang who has worked hard to climb the professional ranks after signing with Real Salt Lake from the Real Monarchs in 2020.

RSL Keys To The Game

Earlier this week, veteran MLS winger Justin Meram explained how Real Salt Lake hopes to create goalscoring chances as well as defend against the dangerous reigning MLS Cup champions.

“It is a hard place to play, man. That field is really tight, really small and you have to be really sharp with the ball and there has to be a lot of combination play, a lot of breaking the lines because there is not much space to play in behind. Guys always have to be moving and the guy on the ball cannot just be standing and wait for anything, we always have to be moving,” Meram said regarding the team’s desire to create goalscoring chances. “We are going to stay compact, for sure, and if we are disciplined and we can stay organized it will be hard for them,” Meram added when asked what the keys to defending at Yankee Stadium entail.

Game Info

Real Salt Lake will head back onto the for a date with New York City at Yankee Stadium scheduled for next Sunday, April 17. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. and will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.


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