By Keave Tollington – Twitter: @KeaveT
Real Salt Lake remain unbeaten in their 2015 campaign as they took home a hard-earned point on the road in Sporting Kansas City‘s ‘Blue Hell’ this weekend, after the sides played out a competitive 0-0 draw at Sporting Park.
Sporting Park was of course the scene of the 2013 MLS Cup final, in a game where RSL lost on penalties as SKC were crowned MLS Cup Champions. Real Salt Lake have now had 3 clean sheets in just 5 league games with MLS shutout king Nick Rimando responsible for most of those.
After strong yields from each team it is easy to see why a goalless scoreline might of felt unjust to both sets of supporters – particularly Sporting Kansas City, as they managed 12 shots on goal compared to RSL’s 4.Embed from Getty Images
The teams have built up a fierce rivalry in the past few seasons that was only accentuated by Sporting KC’s move to the Western Conference this year.
According to former RSL manager, Jason Kreis, the feud began during an extremely physical preseason match between the pair in Arizona back in 2011.
Kreis told MLSsoccer.com back in 2013 that the “very, very physical affair” came as “Kansas City was just starting to implement a really competitive nature about themselves. And we were embarrassing them a little bit preseason, 2-0, knocking the ball around,” the current New York City FC boss said.
The preseason game was halted at 2-2 after a brawl broke out amongst players, as the referee had reportedly sent off the wrong Sporting KC player. Many match reports have disputed whether Real Salt Lake midfielder, Javier Morales, was kicked in the head shortly after the match was stopped but the ‘uncontrollable’ melee has most probably left both camps with ill feelings towards each other.Embed from Getty Images
Head coach Jeff Cassar will now look to extend RSL’s unbeaten run when Rio Tinto plays host to MLS leaders, Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, while Sporting Kansas City face a tough trip to reigning champions, LA Galaxy next weekend.
Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City are both tied on nine points in the Western Conference after six weeks and will meet each other twice more this season at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The next installment of their rivalry will come on June 22, with the third and final matchup coming on July 25.