Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew: Preview and How To Watch

SANDY, UT - JULY 17: Nick Rimando
SANDY, UT - JULY 17: Nick Rimando /

Both Columbus and Real Salt Lake are looking to stay ahead of the red line for a playoff spot. They will meet in a weekend clash that could help them get ahead.

The summer’s grind continues, this time as Columbus try to recover from their midweek loss while visiting the Philadelphia Union, and Real Salt Lake look to move on past their 1-1 draw last weekend against rivals Sporting Kansas City. The Crew head to Rio Tinto Stadium without two of their top defenders, and will have to find a way to shut down a resurgent Real Salt Lake attack if they want to earn a result. Here’s what we’ll be looking out for.

Real Salt Lake

Current Record: 7-12-3

Last Time Out: 1-1 draw against SKC

Player To Watch: Luis Silva. Silva had been in a bit of a drought, despite having quality chances. For whatever reason they just wouldn’t go in, like his double post miss last weekend, followed by another shot off the woodwork on the rebound. He did get a goal against SKC, as well as against Manchester United in the friendly, and if he could really get rolling he could slot in a couple.

Why They Win: The Real Salt Lake attack has been relentless, finally getting on the same page in recent weeks. Joao Plata looks to finally be back to his old form, while Albert Rusnák and Jefferson Savarino have quickly gelled together. They tormented the SKC reverses last week, and will likely do the same against a Columbus side relying on depth while also coming off a midweek match.

Why They Won’t: Columbus have had an up and down season similar to RSL, and part of their 3-0 loss Wednesday came from losing two of their defenders and playing down two men. While Marcelo Silva showed well in his RSL debut, the defense still had some questionable mistakes, most notably the penalty following a sloppy challenge by Silva himself. Results will continue to be hard to come by if Real continues making mistakes that lead directly to goals for their opponents.

Columbus Crew

Current Record: 10-11-1

Last Time Out: 3-0 loss at the Union

Player To Watch: Justin Meram. Meram is having a career year, with nine goals and six assists through this point of the season. The midfielder only saw 55 minutes against the Union and should be relatively fresh for this match. Real Salt Lake has struggled this season to contain wingers, and Meram is quietly one of the best in the league.

Why They Win: Columbus will need to turn this one into a grind. Their last visit to Rio Tinto ended in a wild 4-3  victory, but thanks to the two red-card suspensions to Jonathan Mensah and Lalas Abubakar, they likely won’t want to turn this match into a shootout. If the Crew can slog things down and stay ahead of the RSL counter attacks, they could earn themselves a valuable road result.

Why They Won’t: Real Salt Lake have really turned it around following the international break. Sporting held on for dear life in their affair last weekend, and RSL has had a week to work out the kinks and recover. The relentless RSL attack scored 10 road goals in their two matches before playing SKC, and they forced goalkeeper Tim Melia into several big saves. Columbus doesn’t have Melia or the SKC defense, and with the suspensions to their starters, this one could get really out of hand.

Prediction and How To Watch

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How To Watch

When: July 29, 2017. 8:00 pm EST.

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium. Sandy, UT

Watch: MLSLive, KMYU