Real Salt Lake Unsure What To Expect Ahead Of Columbus Clash

Jun 24, 2022, 2:34 PM
Real Salt Lake defender Marcelo Silva (30) and Columbus Crew forward JJ Williams (33) grapple for p...
Real Salt Lake defender Marcelo Silva (30) and Columbus Crew forward JJ Williams (33) grapple for position on the ball as Real Salt Lake and Columbus Crew play a Major League Soccer game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. RSL won 1-0. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake will return to Rio Tinto Stadium as they host Eastern Conference foe Columbus Crew this Saturday evening.

Time Will Tell

Unlike most weeks this time of the year, Real Salt Lake will enter the fixture not knowing what to expect from Columbus who last played Charlotte to a 1-1 draw despite being without five or six starters due to injury. Most notably, Kevin Molino, Jonothan Mensah, and Pedro Santos who enter the fixture questionable to play.

Real Salt Lake Manager Pablo Mastroeni has planned for a variety of scenarios.

“Nope, we have prepared for a three [at the back], we have prepared for a four, we have prepared for Santos being in, Santos being out, Mensah the same thing,” Mastroeni told KSL Sports in an exclusive interview immediately following training Friday. “When you have that many unknowns you really fall back onto what you want to do and we have played against three, we have played against four so we have a pretty idea of what that looks like minus the players that we are going to be playing.”

Real Salt Lake is looking to extend its unbeaten home streak at Rio Tinto Stadium in 2022. Thus far, the Claret and Cobalt have secured six wins and one draw on their hallowed home pitch while Columbus has managed one win, two losses, and four draws on the road this season.

Unlike Columbus, Real Salt Lake enters the contest with reasonable health. Captain Damir Kreilach remains out following successful back surgery while the club announced this morning that striker Bobby Wood underwent successful abductor surgery and will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Happy Living At RSL

Life at Real Salt Lake is very enjoyable. The club is second in the Western Conference only behind Supporters Shield leaders LAFC and their home record is very impressive. Mastroeni has led Real Salt Lake to its best start in club history while adding important players to the roster along the way.

Last game, Jefferson Savarino notched an assist and a goal in the 2-0 victory against San Jose. Anderson Julio is healthy and Jonothan Menendez is expected to be on the bench after returning from a long stint on the sideline due to injury.

Matchup History

Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew last met over three years ago on March 17, 2019, when RSL won 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Prior to that, Columbus beat RSL a year earlier 2-1 in Columbus.

Match Info

The fixture against Columbus will be Pride Night at Rio Tinto Stadium as the players wear specially designed kits to celebrate Pride Month. Furthermore, due to next weekend’s July 4th game being on the road, fans at tomorrow night’s game will be invited onto the pitch following the conclusion of the game to enjoy a fireworks display.

Columbus and Real Salt Lake will kick off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. The match 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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