Real Salt Lake vs. Orlando City
2017 MLS Regular Season
Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy, Utah
Friday, June 30 – 9:30 pm ET
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It certainly would not be a bad time for either of these teams to pick up the first win in this series.
Real Salt Lake and Orlando City are set to square off on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in their only regular-season contest of the year. The two clubs, which are coming off Week 17 losses, have met twice before in their history, but both those encounters ended on even terms.
They will each be very keen on picking up three points this time around, given that they have both struggled as of late. Orlando City have gone four games without tasting victory, and Real Salt Lake have triumphed just once in their last four matches. While Orlando want to bounce back after being embarrassed on the road last week, Salt Lake need the result more, given that they are five points back of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Prevailing in front of the home crowd might prove quite the challenge, however, as Orlando City could bring back Cyle Larin into the fold. Larin was cleared to resume activities with the Lions earlier this week, meaning he could be given the green light from the start against an RSL defense that has surrendered a whopping 37 goals this season.
Real Salt Lake
If Real Salt Lake want to avoid falling further behind the pack in the West, they need to start picking up positive results on a more consistent basis. Friday's home game would be a good place to start.
RSL have continued to find it tough to prevail in matches regularly, and a big part of that is due to their poor defense. The club has conceded 37 goals on the year, a total which is second-worst in the MLS right now after last week's 2-1 loss in San Jose. RSL also need to fix issues at the back, in order to give attackers like Joao Plata and Yura Movsisyan a chance to make the difference up front.
It'll prove a tough task against an Orlando City attack that could include Larin and Kaká, but nonetheless, RSL have to find a way in order to avoid dropping points at home.
"What we talk about all the time and work on obviously is to keep the ball out of the back of the net, so there's no magic potion to it," head coach Mike Petke told reporters earlier this week. "It's work, it's repetition, it's repeating punchlines and statements until we get it through."
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: Albert Rusnak (Slovakia U-21s)
- Injury Report: OUT – F Chad Barrett (knee surgery, 4-6 months); D David Horst (knee surgery, 6-8 weeks); QUESTIONABLE: M Jordan Allen (right quad strain); D Demar Phillips (hamstring injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Nick Rimando – Chris Wingert, Justen Glad, Aaron Maund, Danilo Acosta – Luke Mulholland, Jefferson Savarino – Brooks Lennon, Luis Silva, Joao Plata – Yura Movsisyan
Notes: Real Salt Lake started the season 1-3-1 at home and conceded eight goals. Currently, the club is on a three-game home winning streak in which it has allowed just one goal. RSL also average the second-most shots per game this year (14.1), but are also tied for the second-lowest goals per game this year (0.94). Their 6.7% shot conversion rate is the second-lowest in the league, and on pace to be their lowest since the 2010 season.
It might be an understatement to say that Orlando City are hungry to get back on the field.
Coming off a 4-0 shellacking at the hands of the Chicago Fire, Orlando are eager to play again so they can right their wrongs. The Lions should have Cyle Larin back on the gameday roster after he was cleared to suit up for the team again, but his reintroduction is unlikely to solve all of Orlando City's problems. The club has fallen on hard times, winning just once in its last 11 games.
There have been issues all across the field for Orlando during that stretch, but nonetheless, they are looking forward to getting another chance to getting back on track.
"You have these types of performances as the year goes along, and what's nice is that if it's not the last game of the year, we have the opportunity to set the record straight," Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis told MLSsoccer.com. "We have the opportunity to go out and perform a lot better than we did this past weekend and get moving in a positive direction again."
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: None
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2, right to left): Joe Bendik – Scott Sutter, Tommy Redding, Jonathan Spector, P.C. – Will Johnson, Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Higuita, Kaka – Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin
Notes: Orlando City are winless in their last six MLS road games (0-4-2) and have been outscored 13-3 across those matches. In the 15 games Cyle Larin has started this year, Orlando average 1.6 points per game. In the three games he has missed, that figure is 0.7 points per game.
Neither side has yet to taste victory against the other, as the games they have played to date have ended in draws.
- Overall: RSL 0 wins (3 goals) … ORL 0 wins (3 goals) … Ties 2
- At RSL: RSL 0 wins (1 goal) … ORL 0 wins (1 goal) … Ties 1
- Referee: Robert Sibiga
- Senior Assistant Referee, near side: Mike Rottersman
- Junior Assistant Referee, far side: Jonathan Johnson
- 4th Official: Nima Saghafi