Real Salt Lake vs Orlando City: Preview and How To Watch

Jason Kreis returns to Rio Tinto Stadium where his name is still etched into the wall, this time with Orlando City. Both RSL and Orlando need a result.

In retrospect, things haven’t gone to plan for either Jason Kreis or Real Salt Lake since they parted ways. The days of Kreis pacing in front of the Real Salt Lake bench will likely forever be remembered with fondness by the RSL faithful, but since those days have passed, both Kreis and RSL are still trying to get back to where they were able to go together. Real Salt Lake has now moved into a new era under Mike Petke, and will look to earn their fourth straight home win, while Kreis now leads Orlando City after taking over midway through the season, almost exactly a year ago. This is only Kreis’s second full season at the helm of an MLS team after leaving RSL in 2013.

This will only be the third ever meeting between the two clubs, the two previous meetings ending in draws. Their inaugural meeting was a 1-1 draw in Rio Tinto where Kaka was sent off with a controversial red card, while their second contest saw RSL blow a 2-0 lead in an epic injury time comeback by the Lions to open the 2016 season. Both club’s have taken their lumps over the last few matches, and will look to get back on track on this Friday night matchup. Here’s what we’ll be looking out for.

Real Salt Lake

Jun 17, 2017; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) walks on the field with young soccer players prior to their game against the Minnesota United FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Current Record: 5-11-2

Last Time Out: 2-1 loss at San Jose.

Player To Watch: Everyone. It’s been well noted and rumored that RSL was going to be making some moves heading into the summer transfer window. GM Craig Waibel even said yesterday on local radio station ESPN 700 that the club has already made a signing. This match and a July 4th visit to the Galaxy will be the last chance to show a handful of players have what it takes to stay in the Claret & Cobalt.

Why They Win: Real Salt Lake have actually won their last three matches at home, despite struggling on the road. Against San Jose last weekend, the youth seemed to be the players who wanted the result the most. They should get another chance this week, and given Orlando’s issues they have a good chance keeping their home winning streak going.

Why They Won’t: RSL looked flat against San Jose. If they come out and look sluggish against Orlando it will another long day for the RSL faithful. With this also being one of two final auditions for some players who have struggled during the year, poor individual performances could stick out after the fact once again.

Orlando City SC

Jun 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Orlando City SC players huddle before a game against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Current Record: 7-6-5

Last Time Out: 4-0 loss at Chicago

Player to Watch: Cyle Larin. This is likely to be Larin’s first appearance since picking up a DUI earlier in the month. Given Orlando’s poor play, it’s likely Larin would want to get back on track as soon as possible, and a struggling RSL defense could be just what he needs to do that.

Why They Win: With Larin back in the lineup, the Lions will be to turn things around in their struggling attack. Add a motivated Kaka into the mix, who scored in his last visit to Rio Tinto, and Orlando could have the firepower to get a few goals past RSL and earn the result on the road.

Why They Won’t: Orlando’s struggles have arguably been worse than those of RSL as of late, but changes have been happening. The club waived Designated Player Matias-Perez and signed defender Leo Pereira in his place from Orlando City B. The issues OCSC are facing will likely take a lot more changes and time than just a week turnaround.

Prediction and How To Watch

When: Friday, June 30, 2017. 9:30 pm EST.

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium. Sandy, Utah.

Watch: ESPN