When it comes to matchups, few teams could be on more even footing than Real Salt Lake (4-5-1, 13 points) and the Philadelphia Union (3-5-2, 11 points), who will meet at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa., on Saturday.
Their last five head-to-head matches have resulted in a win apiece and three draws. While RSL ride a bit higher in the standings, this tilt is all about parity.
The Union return home after a 2-0 victory in Montreal over the Impact, to put a smidgen of distance between those two clubs in the Eastern Conference. Cory Burke and Haris Medunjanin each got their first goals of the season in the win, a hopeful sign for a club with the second-fewest goals in MLS.
Further strong play from goaltender Andre Blake, who recorded his 20th career clean sheet against Montreal, will be key for the low-scoring Union.
After registering a 3-2 win at home against D.C. United last week, RSL go back out on the road, where they have not fared well (0-4-1).
They’ve also struggled to keep opposing clubs from putting the ball in the net, conceding 21 goals in 10 games this season despite the veteran presence of goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
With improved play from Rimando and the defense, and continued production from midfielder Albert Rusnak (three goals, three assists) and forwards Corey Baird (three goals, one assist) and Joao Plata (three goals, one assist), RSL might just turn the corner and notch their first road win, though Plata is listed as questionable with a quad injury.
Defender Tony Beltran continues to recover from knee surgery for RSL, and backup goalie Alex Horwath is out for the season after May 1 surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon. Midfielder Jordan Allen (knee) and defenders Shawn Barry (knee) and Demar Phillips (ankle) are out.
The Union will be without the services of defenders Richie Marquez (sports hernia surgery) and Joshua Yaro (concussion).
—Field Level Media