War of words, Real Salt Lake and Kansas City rivalry heating up (+video)
“It’s really an interesting rivalry in terms of where the league wants to go. To use facts: Kansas City leads the league in fouls committed by a wide margin. They wear their style on their sleeve. They’re going to come in and try and intimidate and impose their style and even beat you up a little bit. They’re not shy about that, they’re proud of it. So I think the league has to decide do they want that kind of physical, rock-’em-sock-’em style, or do they want to play more of a passing, possession, beautiful game. And I think that’s really why the rivalry comes into focus, because you see these two different directions the league could go.”
Indeed, Kansas City led MLS in fouls committed last year with 511, a whopping 46 more than second-place Chivas USA. Real Salt Lake ranked 13th with 400 fouls committed.
It’s worth noting, however, that RSL committed more fouls than Kansas City in three of the past five meetings over the past three years.
Heading into Saturday’s match, Kansas City again leads the league in fouls with 73, but RSL ranks third with 68, a sign that new head coach Jeff Cassar is encouraging a more physical brand of soccer this season.
Cassar knows all eyes will be on the MLS Cup rematch, but he’s trying to keep the hype and hate in perspective.
“We’re not going to win the MLS Cup on Saturday, but we can put ourselves in a good position to get back there this Saturday,” said Cassar.
Follow Real Salt Lake beat writer James Edward on Twitter @DesNewsReal
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