Talk about two sides that have been evenly-matched: Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls sit in sixth place of the Eastern and Western conference of Major League Soccer. However, this probably comes as a bit of a surprise to followers of the league, as home team New York Red Bulls were the league leaders last year, winning the Supporters’ Shield.
Real Salt Lake, on the other hand, are performing about as well as is expected. They’ve had back-and-forth results which are unfortunately on a downward swing following a tight loss to Montreal Impact. Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls have made a bit of a comeback in May after a dreadful couple of months. Still, they look more vulnerable than they have in some time. Could this be Real Salt Lake’s chance to take down the defending Supporters’ Shield champions?
New York RB vs Real Salt Lake Prediction: Red Bulls 2-1 Salt Lake
Although Real Salt Lake are clearly in with a strong fighting chance here, we have to view the most likely outcome as being a New York Red Bulls victory. Not only have they improved over the last several weeks and are on an upward swing momentum wise, but we’re also aware that they have more potential than their current position would suggest. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake are yet to show that they can be a serious threat to the upper end of the standings. For that reason, our scoreline prediction is 2-1 in the favour of New York Red Bulls.
Our recommended tip: New York RB win
The New York Red Bulls are the bookmakers’ favourites in this MLS clash. This is largely due to a mix of their past success and a recent resurgence in playing quality. At Ladbrokes, Real Salt Lake have medium-risk 4/1 match odds, while New York Red Bulls have much lower risk 8/13 odds on a win. Therefore, we recommend that you back the home side to victory here for your best chance of winning your wager.
One thing that will certainly be giving Real Salt Lake fans reason to be optimistic is their recent history with the New York Red Bulls. These two last went head-to-head in 2018, in a result which saw Salt Lake pull away with a 1-0 victory – just as they did in 2017. Only a 2017 draw prevents their 2-1 2016 victory from making it three for three for Real Salt Lake, and you have to go back to 2015 to find a rebuttal. We may not think it is their time but history certainly favours the underdogs in this fixture.
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Players to watch: Brian White & Sam Johnson
New York Red Bulls: Brian White
The emergence of 23-year-old Brian White as one of the New York Red Bulls’ most exciting and deadliest additions has been among the most pleasant surprises of this MLS season. This team may not be having their greatest season ever – as they’ve struggled to match their 2018 form – but White’s game-changing ability is an important piece of the puzzle.
Real Salt Lake: Sam Johnson
When going up against a team of the calibre of New York Red Bulls – especially when they seem to be refinding some of that 2018 magic – you need your top players to bring their A-game and break through those defences. For Real Salt Lake, there’s no better candidate for that role than Sam Johnson. He will no doubt be itching for victory after his goal against Montreal Impact proved not enough to get the job done.