Peter Vermes on new Sporting KC midfielder Cristian Lobato: 'We're very happy to have him here'
Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake
WHEN/WHERE: 9 p.m. Saturday, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports KC (joined in progress after the Royals game; game will start on FSKC Plus); WHB (810 AM)
ABOUT SPORTING KC (8-4-8, 32 points): With the U.S. men’s national team facing Costa Rica in a Gold Cup semifinal at the same time as Sporting KC plays, it would be wise to have two screens showing soccer Saturday night. Sporting KC will be without defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi — who are with the U.S. squad in Arlington, Texas. ... Tim Melia is fifth in MLS with 60 saves. ... Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Gerso Fernandes each scored in a 3-0 win against Real Salt Lake on April 29 at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting had been 0-5-3 in the teams’ previous eight matchups. ... Defender Ike Opara will be out with a concussion he sustained July 11 in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal victory against FC Dallas.
ABOUT REAL SALT LAKE (7-12-2, 23 points): Despite residing in eighth place in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake has been one of the hottest teams in MLS this month. They’ve scored 10 goals in their last two league matches, beating the LA Galaxy 6-2 on July 4 and Portland 4-1 on July 19. ... Forward Yura Movsisyan leads Salt Lake with six goals. ... Only first-year Minnesota United FC (42) has allowed more goals this season than Real Salt Lake (41). ... Injuries have piled up for Real Salt Lake, which will be without forwards Chad Barrett and Jordan Allen and midfielder Omar Holness due to knee injuries. Forward Brooks Lennon, defender Demar Phillips and Movsisyan are listed as questionable for Saturday.
BOTTOM LINE: While Sporting KC has yet to lose in 10 home matches this season, it is 2-4-4 on the road and has been shut out seven times.
PREDICTION: Sporting KC 2, Real Salt Lake 1
Jeff Patterson: 816-234-4767, @jeffpatt_KC