On Saturday, Real Salt Lake will face its first Major League Soccer opponent during the 2020 preseason in Sporting Kansas City and after a lively training session on Friday in Tucson, the group is excited for the competition and challenge ahead at the weekend.
“We get two good games tomorrow against Sporting and Houston,” Head Coach Freddy Juarez said after Friday’s training at Kino Sports Complex. “That’s what we want and now we’re toward MLS competition.”
During Friday’s training, scrimmage matches, small-sided matches and set piece material was covered by Juarez and his staff as the players get set to face Sporting. At the end of the training, some players came together for a shooting competition against the goalkeeper’s in an occurrence that not only brought out top-quality finishing, but friendly challenges amongst one another.
“During training the day before a game we wanted to keep the spirits light and work a little bit on set pieces. There’s a good energy and everyone excited for tomorrow’s competition,” Juarez said.
With the team set to face Sporting on Saturday at 4:00p MT from Kino Sports Complex, Juarez and the coaching staff will see two matches – one 90-minute match and one 45-minute match against Houston. Having two matches will provide the entire group the with the chance to gain fitness and reintroduce itself to the speed of play that comes with playing an MLS opponent.
“On Saturday, we’ll have two groups – one that goes 90 minutes like a regular season match against Kansas City and if we need to make the subs then we’ll make subs. During the 45-minute game against Houston we’re looking to get some guys fitness and competition,” Juarez said. “It’s a great time to gauge ourselves right now and this is our first real test of those things. We’re in a good spot right now and we feel that our group has gotten better and better.”
The team will remain in Tucson to play two more matches after Saturday before returning to Zions Bank Training Center next week to prepare for its opening match of the 2020 regular season. RSL kicks off the 2020 regular season two weeks from Saturday when it faces Orlando City SC on February 29 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City can be seen LIVE here.