Rio Tinto Stadium will play host this Saturday to two teams that, while failing to score the week before, nevertheless managed to pull out a point: Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia Union.
Last Week’s Results
RSL, while doubtless frustrated by its offensive ineffectiveness at Providence Park, is likely content taking a hard-earned road point from Portland through a superlative defensive effort. Philadelphia, on the other hand, failed to take a home win from the Colorado Rapids, a team likely to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference, even though Philadelphia played a man up for the final twenty minutes, held a significant possession advantage, and outshot its opponent 16-2, with a 4-0 edge in shots on goal. The Union, rather than frustrated, should be disappointed.
Projecting This Week
Playing in a new 4-3-3 formation, RSL saw significant growing pains in its season opener against the Timbers. RSL was unable to get the ball into attacking positions for much of the match. Having said that, though, the match was on artificial turf in a very hostile environment, and RSL should see improvement coming home to the RioT. With a game under its collective belt and another week of practice in the books, RSL should give a better performance and net at least one goal.
The question, then, is how Philadelphia will do. The Union have a few new faces in their lineup this year, having acquired CJ Sapong from Sporting Kansas City in the offseason and receiving forward Fernando Aristeguieta on loan from Nantes of France’s Ligue 1. (Aristeguieta’s nickname is “El Colorado,” a reference to the Venezuelan’s bright red hair.) Sebastian Le Toux also looks to bring an attacking presence for the Union. Philly also looks to bring in a physical style of play, outfouling the Rapids in their season opener by a 22 to 9 margin.
And of course, there’s always RSL “fan favorite” Conor Casey. Casey nearly gave Philadelphia all three points on two occasions last Saturday, both times with his gloriously reflective noggin.
Tweets during the past weeks suggest, unsurprisingly, that the Union are content allowing RSL to hold possession for as long as RSL wants. Ultimately, the Union believe, RSL will turn the ball over on their own.
I don’t think that will be the case on Saturday. Ultimately, RSL should likely pull out a win. I’m going to go with a 2-1 score line.
- RSL Goals: Alvaro Saborio (2)
- Philadelphia Goal: Andrew Wenger
- Possession: 55-45 RSL
- Passes: 400-310 RSL
- First Yellow Card: Raymon Gaddis (Philadelphia)