Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake players celebrate their win over the Portland Timbers, MLS soccer Sunday November 24, 2013, in Portland.
Real Salt Lake: RSL quickly turns page to MLS Cup and SKC
Major League Soccer » Salt Lake to play for title as visitor.
First Published Nov 25 2013 12:06 pm • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 11:42 pm

Portland, Ore. • Trying to speak over the blasting music in the visitors’ locker room underneath JELD-WEN Field, Kyle Beckerman provided his assessment on the club Real Salt Lake would be facing in two weeks minutes after trying to digest a Western Conference title.

So, what is the RSL captain’s scouting report on Sporting Kansas City, the Eastern Conference champion, which hosts RSL on Saturday, Dec. 7, in the MLS Cup?

At a glance


RSL vs. Sporting KC, at Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 p.m., TV » ESPN

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"They’re similar to Portland," Beckerman said. "Very similar."

Sporting, the No. 2 seed out of the Eastern Conference, has its share of dangerous players such as Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber, Claudio Bieler and Soony Saad and allowed just 30 goals in 34 MLS league matches, a league-best among playoff teams. K.C. earned the right to host the MLS Cup due to finishing with more regular-season points than RSL. Sporting finished with 58 in 34 matches, while RSL finished with 56.

In their only meeting this season, Sporting topped RSL 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 20, a match in which RSL missed Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran and Alvaro Saborio due to international duty in the Gold Cup. And Sporting stole three points in the 97th minute of play on a goal by Ike Opara.

"I expect a good game," Beltran said. "We’ll go in there, just like we did [Sunday] with desire, with the idea that we can win and take the game to the other team, even though we’re away."

Midfielder Ned Grabavoy sees some similarities between the two championship sides.

"For me, they’ve been the best soccer team in the East the last few years," he said. "They haven’t been able to crack through and make it through to the final, and now they have. They’re dangerous, without question. They’re as hungry as ever."

Which certainly poses a challenge for RSL.

Sporting, known for its aggressive and physical style of play, will surely be out to stifle the flow of RSL’s midfield, which has dominated the last three matches of the postseason. And the question of whether RSL will have the services of Saborio, who missed each leg of the Western Conference final against Portland with a hip flexor injury, still floats over the MLS Cup.

story continues below
story continues below

But as RSL showed in its 1-0 win over the Timbers on Sunday night, environments don’t necessarily rattle.

"We expect a battle," Beckerman said. "I’m sure it’ll be freezing. It’s just great to be in a final and anything can happen."


Twitter: @chriskamrani

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.