Tactical Analysis: Real Salt Lake v Sporting Kansas City (MLS Cup Play Offs Preview)

The post season campaign is hotting up in Major League Soccer (MLS) with the Conference semi-finals beginning this weekend in the race for the Audi MLS Cup, and we’re going to have a closer look at one of the fixtures, powered by Globall Coach.

Real Salt Lake (RSL) take on Sporting Kansas City (Sporting KC) in the first leg of the Western Conference semi-finals on Sunday night.

RSL snuck into the play-offs in the final place after LA Galaxy threw away a two-goal lead in the final match of the regular season when they were in the driving seat to take that play-off berth.

They have since gone on to defeat LAFC in the first knockout round, so go into this fixture full of confidence, and they can also draw confidence from the last four meetings between these teams which they have won twice and drawn twice.

RSL will set up in a 4-3-3 formation which has served them well. They are solid in the centre and players like Jefferson Savarino provide the guile and creativity in wide areas, providing good quality supply.

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But Sporting KC will also be full of confidence going into this tie. They finished the regular season strongly, winning their last three matches to top the Western Conference standings.

They also line up in a 4-3-3 system which will make this match up an intriguing one.

We have done some video content which looks a bit more closely at their system and tactical approach (below - or watch the full MLS Play-Offs Tactico Tuesday Extra video here)

The important thing to note going into this weekend’s match, is that it is a two-legged affair, so the result on Sunday will not necessarily decide the tie.

Sporting KC will have home field advantage in the second leg, so might have a more cautious approach in this first match, not wanting to concede ground going into the home leg next week. It should be an interesting match, with the four play-off matches so far providing great entertainment.

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Paul Harper