Real Salt Lake face road-challenged New York City FC

ByReuters ESPN logo
Saturday, June 10, 2023

Real Salt Lake look for their first consecutive league wins and a third straight victory in all competitions when it hosts a New York City FC squad that hasn't won on the road all season on Saturday night.

Rubio Rubin scored his first two goals of the season in Salt Lake's 2-1 road win at Austin FC last weekend.

Then Damir Kreilach scored twice -- including once from the penalty spot -- as the Claret and Cobalt jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the LA Galaxy before holding on for a 3-2 victory in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal.

"The lesson learned from this game is we've got to keep playing the game, and you've got to override the fear you have of losing the game," RSL manager Pablo Mastroeni said after the Cup win. "And that's a difficult mechanism."

That might become easier if Salt Lake (5-7-4, 19 points) can find a consistent scorer. Jefferson Savarino leads the team with four in league play, a relatively modest total.

According to a report from The Athletic this week, RSL is closing in on signing former Los Angeles FC striker Cristian Arango from Pachuca in Mexico's top division.

NYCFC (4-7-5, 17 points) have had their own scoring woes ever since losing 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos to a loan move to Girona in Spain last summer.

While Castellanos is technically still on NYCFC's books, he's performed well enough in La Liga that he will almost certainly make a permanent transfer to a European club this summer.

In the interim, NYCFC have created chances but struggled to finish them, while going winless in their last seven overall (0-5-2) and in all eight MLS away games (0-5-3).

Santiago Rodriguez and Gabriel Pereira have four goals apiece to lead the Cityzens, who have scored only five during their seven-match funk and five during their MLS travels.

"You can find excuses," said NYCFC attacker Alfredo Morales, who has been limited to three starts and 11 appearances due to injury. "But we have to make sure we do everything to win the game and keep pushing.

"We know that in soccer, there are stretches and patches where you don't get rewarded for what you put in, but it will come."

NYCFC recorded a 6-0 home win in last season's head-to-head meeting.

--Field Level Media