The Salt Lake Tribune's Christopher Kamrani wrote on June 20 that the rivaly between Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC is "still alive and well."
The rivarly between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City is very much alive.
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The Salt Lake Tribune's Christopher Kamrani wrote about he rivalry in his June 20 article. His main basis for this point was Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber naming Real Salt Lake as the Major League Soccer club he dislikes the most during an April 25 news conference.
Kamrani says that little episode proves that the heated rivarly between the two teams is "still alive and well."
Feilhaber's teammate, striker Dom Dwyer, echoed his sentiment toward Real Salt Lake when he said he hated that team "very much" two months ago, per Kamrani.
The animosity between the two sides began four years ago during a preseason match that was called off because a melee broke out, per The Salt Lake Tribune.
This carried over into their 2013 match when Sporting KC beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1, on a 97th-minute game winner. The rivalry was further solidified when the two teams met for the 2013 MLS Cup Final on Dec. 7, 2013.
Kamrani says that game featured the longest shootout in MLS Cup history with 20 penalty kicks. Sporting KC overcame a 1-0 deficit to become MLS champions.
"What put it over the top was that final," Feilhaber told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday.
Feilhaber, who dubbed Real Salt Lake as "bitter rivals," also told Kamrani he believes RLS thinks it is better than everybody else:
"I think they have this persona or at least they believe that they're this team that is a clean-playing football team and all that. And then they blame us for being overly physical.
"I think they're just like us physically-wise; they're going to kick you, they're going to make it tough for you to play against them, and I think there's more about them than what they like to admit, I guess."
Prior to the two squads' showdown at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake on Sunday, Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar told Kamrani he's looking forward to facing their old rivals:
"It's one of those games where (we can) make a statement. I want teams to start to fear us and feel like we're going to be playing with a hunger and a passion and a sense of urgency, and there's no better team (to face) than Kansas City."
Real Salt Lake beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on an extra-time goal, per The Kansas City Star's Sam McDowell. Real Salt Lake's goal in the 97th minute was ruled an own goal after a shot from Olmes Garcia bounced off Sporting KC's Kevin Ellis and into the net past goalkeeper Tim Melia.
It was Melia's first loss in seven starts, per McDowell.
Real Salt Lake's Sebastian Jaime drew first blood with a header over the opponent's back line in the 15th minute. Fifteen minutes later, Sporting KC's Dominic Dwyer scored the equalizer off a Feilhaber assist -- his eighth this season -- per MLSSoccer.com.
Dwyer had an opportunity to put Sporting KC ahead in the second half, but Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando denied him the opportunity. It would have been Dwyer's first multi-goal game of the season, per The Kansas City Star.
McDowell says Feihaber's comments last week could very well have beeh one of the reasons behind the physical nature of Sunday's match, which featured six yellow cards in all.
With the loss, Real Salt Lake snapped Sporting Kansas City's seven-match unbeaten streak. The former improved to 5-5-6 while the latter fell to 6-3-6 on the season, per Major League Soccer's official website.
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