Already missing star playmaker Albert Rusnak, Real Salt Lake were dealt another blow on Sunday afternoon when the lineups for their do-or-die Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs clash with Sporting Kansas City were revealed.
The recently-named AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year, Corey Baird, will not feature in the Conference Semifinals second leg at Children's Mercy Park (3 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN2, TVAS), having not cleared concussion protocol.
Baird's absence means Luis Silva, who's started nine games and scored five goals in 810 minutes in 2018, got the nod up top from head coach Mike Petke. Damir Kreilach, who's often filled in as a forward for RSL, had to drop to the No. 10 role due to Rusnak's suspension for caution accumulation.
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Also of note in the RSL lineup was the insertion of center back Nick Besler in the absence of the injured Marcelo Silva. The decision from Petke sees Justen Glad – who started 33 regular season games for RSL – remain on the the bench for his third straight playoff game.
Besler’s insertion into the RSL starting lineup also means he will get the opportunity to go up against his brother, Sporting center back Matt Besler.
On the Sporting side of things, Vermes went with what has largely been his preferred XI of late. Up top, where Khiry Shelton and Diego Rubio have split duties this year, Vermes opted for Rubio, KC’s goalscorer in the first leg vs. RSL.