Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2020 MLS Match Preview

RSL-SKC Week 24

2020 MLS Regular Season – Week 24
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy
November 8 – 6:30 PM ET



Sporting Kansas City will look to finish atop the Western Conference and complete a nearly worst-to-first turnaround from last season when they meet a Real Salt Lake squad already eliminated from Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs contention when the Western Conference foes clash at Rio Tinto Stadium on Decision Day presented by AT&T. 

Sporting (11W-6L-3D) can clinch first place in the West with a win and enter the final match of the regular season on a good run of form, having lost just once in their last seven (5W-1L-1D). Real Salt Lake (5W-9L-7D) are playing for pride after their playoff aspirations were dashed following a 2-1 defeat to the LA Galaxy in Week 22. The Claret-and-Cobalt have won just one of their last eight and are winless in their last three. 

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Johnny Russell scored in the first minute and Gerso Fernandes in the 86th, as Sporting took a 2-0 win on July 22 during the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament.

Real Salt Lake

RSL saw their bid for a place in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs come to an end, falling 2-1 to the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday evening. Douglas Martínez scored his second goal of the season, both coming in the last four games, but it wasn't enough to keep his team's playoff hopes alive. 

After more than 400 senior club appearances, there's just one more matchday left for Nedum Onouha. The veteran center back recently announced his plans to retire following Real Salt Lake's Decision Day clash with Sporting KC on Sunday after little more than two seasons with the club.

“It’s strange," Onuoha told reporters on a virtual press conference about preparing for his final game. "I’ve been thinking in the past six months I was wondering how I’d feel and now that it's here, it’s difficult to describe. Just knowing there’s nothing after this game, that’s tough. But the mentality is to try to enjoy it and I think I will.”

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2020 MLS Match Preview - Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Giuseppe Rossi (F) - undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Chris Garcia (F) - undisclosed injury
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: Kyle Beckerman (M), Pablo Ruiz (M), Donny Toia (D)
  • International duty:  None

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City had their match with Minnesota United FC at the weekend canceled. In their last match, Sporting assured their place in the playoffs, defeating FC Cincinnati 1-0 at Nippert Stadium. Sporting return to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus halted an eight-year streak. 

Peter Vermes is in pretty familiar territory on Decision Day. In four previous years during Vermes' tenure — 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018 — Sporting entered the regular season finale with first place up for grabs. Sporting won on all four occasions.

"I've always been under the opinion that every game is important but, as we all know, when you get down toward the end of the season, each game has such an impact because the final table and the final view is more determined just because you can start doing all the calculations to figure it out," Vermes told media during a press conference on Friday. "We've just got to go play and I guess you play the voodoo dolls and hopefully everything works in your favor."

Speaking with reporters, Vermes rattled off the list of injured players who will miss their final regular season game. It includes striker Alan Pulido and midfielder Gadi Kinda, most notably, while Graham Zusi and Felipe Gutierrez have been dealing with long-term injuries. Pulido reportedly suffered a sprained knee and was described as "week-to-week."

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2020 MLS Match Preview - Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Felipe Gutierrez (M) - knee injury
    • OUT: Graham Zusi (D) - left midfoot sprain
    • OUT: Gadi Kinda (M) - undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Wilson Harris (F) - undisclosed injury
    • OUT: Alan Pulido (F) - sprained knee
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: Ilie Sanchez (M)
  • International duty:  None

Series Matchup at Real Salt Lake

  • Real Salt Lake: 9 wins, 26 goals
  • Sporting: 3 wins, 17 goals
  • 3 draws


  • Referee: Kevin Stott
  • Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Mike Rottersman
  • 4th Official: Silviu Petrescu
  • VAR: Allen Chapman