Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Sunday, March 29 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 8/11 – Draw 11/4 – Toronto 18/5
Real Salt Lake host Toronto FC in one of the most highly anticipated games of Week 4 and despite dealing with international absentees, both teams will be fresh after coming in off a bye week last weekend.
Real Salt Lake drew 3-3 against the Philadelphia Union in front of their own fans last time out, while Toronto lost 2-0 away at Columbus and will want to make this trip a better one.
RSL have drawn both of their opening games but will see this as a game they will want to win, especially given their recent record against Toronto.
The Western Conference side have won the past three meetings between the sides and have recorded victories in their last seven home games against the Reds.
Toronto will have to try and change that record without two of their key Designated Players as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are both win the US Men’s National Team.
The performance at Columbus two weeks ago was not anywhere near as good as the one in Vancouver on opening weekend and their chances in this one depend on what Toronto side turn up.Embed from Getty Images
Both sides have struggled to hit the ground running and will see this as a game to find a level of consistency in, potentially setting the tone for the remainder of their seasons.
Real Salt Lake will be without Joao Plata (foot), John Stertzer (toe) and Demar Phillips (hamstring) through injury, while Justen Glad (knee) and Pecka (hip) are both doubts. Nick Rimando, Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio and Elias Vasquez are all away on international duty.
Toronto are even more depleted than RSL as they will be without Steven Caldwell (achilles), Mark Bloom and Eriq Zavaleta through injury. Justin Morrow is out suspended and the international games mean Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Chris Mannella and Quillan Roberts are all absent.
Real Salt Lake’s form: D/D
Toronto FC’s form: W/L
Key Stat: Toronto FC have conceded an average of 17 shots per game in their opening two games. They will need to remain tighter at the back if they are to get anything out of this game.
Key Player: Javier Morales – The Real Salt Lake playmaker already has a goal and an assist in two games and will be at the heart of all his sides’ attacking play on Sunday night.
Real Salt Lake 2-1 Toronto FC – The losses of Altidore and Bradley will be huge for Toronto. The squad is depleted and Real Salt Lake should just edge what should be an intriguing game. Home support will play a part and their dominating record against the Reds will likely be extended this weekend.