Real Salt Lake’s recent form has been as good as any in the MLS, while Minnesota United has been going in the opposite direction.
Saturday night the two meet in a match between a pair of teams with different realities facing their postseason possibilities, with kickoff for the RLS home game set for 9:30 p.m. ET at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake (13-10-5, 44 points) has gone 4-1-1 in its last six games, putting home six goals in each of the last two games — a 6-0 win over Colorado on Aug. 25, followed by a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sept. 1.
It marked the first time in league history that any team has scored six or more goals in consecutive games.
The run has RSL tied for fourth place in the Western Conference with the Portland Timbers, just five points behind front-running FC Dallas.
“I think it’s confidence now, not overconfidence,” head coach Mike Petke said, per MLSSoccer.com. “We’re very grounded right now, we understand who we are, we understand our capabilities, practice over the last month has been so much more intense and so much more specific from the players, getting on each other and making sure we’re connecting passes and making the right movements.
“I think we’ve grown up a heck of a lot from last year to this year.”
However, Real Salt Lake remains only three points ahead of sixth-place Seattle, a team with two games in hand over RSL and four points up on seventh-place Vancouver, a team that has played one fewer game than RSL.
In other words, a win over a struggling team like Minnesota is paramount, especially for a team that has gone 10-1-3 at home this season.
Minnesota (9-16-2, 29 points) is only three spots out of a playoff spot in the West but 12 points back of Seattle. Throw in Minnesota’s 1-12-1 road record and it’s a daunting task Saturday, although the team won its last head-to-head meeting against RSL, 3-2 on July 14.
Minnesota has lost five of its last six games (0-5-1), including three in a row. After being off for 17 days, Minnesota will play its second game in four days. Wednesday the team led 1-0 before dropping a 2-1 final to D.C. United.
—Field Level Media