The game in 100 words (or less): Visiting teams do not play soccer at Sporting Park. It’s been this way since the stadium opened in 2011, and honestly, with the way that Sporting KC have struggled to break teams down in the building’s five seasons of existence, there’s simply no reason for opponents to suddenly start venturing forward and trying to go toe to toe with Sporting. How little did RSL attack in the first half? Practically none. One shot on target for SKC, to four shots in total for RSL. Roger Espinoza’s face (at right) says it all.
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Three moments that mattered
46′ — Double chance for Sporting goes begging — Benny Feilhaber’s lofted ball into the box found Krisztian Nemeth near the penalty spot, where the Hungarian international connected the first-time side-volley but found only the left-hand post of Nick Rimando. The ball ricocheted back into play and Jacob Peterson’s sliding, follow-up shot went wide of the near post.
55′ — Dwyer goal ruled out for offside — It was Feilhaber once again delivering the service into the penalty area, this time for Dom Dwyer. Feilhaber curled a cross around Jamison Olave and onto the boot of Dwyer, who slid the ball under Rimando with his first-time shot, but the assistant referee immediately — and rightly — raised his flag for offside.
83′ — Opara goes down injured, stretchered off — Ike Opara missed most of the 2014 season with a broken ankle, and since returning in 2015, he’s been simultaneously SKC’s best player and wound up injured in every game. This time, he looked to be in a great deal of pain with what the training staff called a “calf muscle injury.”
Man of the match: Jamison Olave — Sure, it was by design that Olave had 12 clearances and 7 interceptions — RSL wanted no part of an open game — and Olave handled each and every ball into the box the way you would expect the eight-year MLS veteran to do.
Sporting Kansas City: Marin, Anibaba, Opara (Ellis 84′), Besler, De Jong, Feilhaber, Carrasco, Espinoza, Peterson (Anor 77′), Dwyer, Nemeth
Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Beltran, Olave, Vasquez, Mansally, Beckerman, Mulholland (Stertzer 92′), Morales, Gil (Allen 65′), Saborio, Garcia (Phillips 88′)