Sporting KC faces Real Salt Lake in clash of conference leaders
(July 19, 2013) - Saturday night features a clash of conference leaders between the highest scoring team in Major League Soccer in Real Salt Lake and the League shutout leader Jimmy Nielsen. The match at Rio Tinto Stadium is set to kickoff at 9 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV. Fans can also listen to the match on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340.
Saturday marks the lone meeting between the cross conference opponents during the 2013 MLS regular season. In 2012, the clubs met in similar fashion as Sporting KC started the season with six straight victories controlling the East and Real Salt Lake topped the West with a 5-1-0 record.
The match resulted in 1-0 victory in favor of Sporting Kansas City. Aurelien Collin notched the game-winner assisted by U.S. Men's National Team winger Graham Zusi. Sporting Kansas City is 8-0-2 when Collin scores a goal for the club.
Sporting KC is 7-5-3 against Real Salt Lake all-time and 2-4-1 on the road in the series. In 2013, Sporting KC boasts the best road record in the League this season and the best goal differential in the Eastern Conference, second in MLS only behind Real Salt Lake.
Real Salt Lake is in the midst of an eleven game unbeaten streak in all competitions most recently defeating FC Dallas 3-0 at FC Dallas Stadium. The win marked Real Salt Lake's 100th regular season victory in club history.
Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in eight of their last nine matches heading into Saturday's contest also securing a 3-0 result in their last performance. A Soony Saad brace and clinical finish by Designated Player Claudio Bieler helped the home side defeat Toronto FC at Sporting Park.
Bieler, fifth in the League for goals scored with nine in MLS competition, was nominated for Goal of the Week. Javier Morales' nutmeg of Zach Lyod slid past FC Dallas' Raul Fernandez earning him the weekly honor. Morales leads Real Salt Lake in goals (5) and assists (8).
Sporting KC will be without Matt Besler, who joined the United States Men's National Team in advance of the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Thursday. Besler joins Real Salt Lake all-star trio of Nick Rimando, Carlos Beltran and Kyle Beckerman.
The three All-Star's from Real Salt Lake are tied with Sporting Kansas City for most All-Star's from one club. Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi along with Besler will be on the gameday roster for the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Sporting Park on July 31.
Alvaro Saborio is with the Costa Rican national team and will miss Saturday's match. Paulo Nagamura will also miss Saturday's match, his fifth consecutive match out with a left ankle sprain.
Sporting KC supporters can find in-game updates at SportingKC.com/GameOn and by following @SKCGameday on Twitter.