<strong>SANDY—</strong> Real Salt Lake returns to MLS play Friday when it takes on the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. at 5:30 p.m. MT. The match will be broadcast live nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Friday’s match is the last in a busy three-game in six-day stretch that saw RSL fall 2-1 at home to Western Conference rival FC Dallas last Saturday and beat Panamanian club Tauro FC 2-0 in CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage play at Rio Tinto Stadium Tuesday night.
While Tuesday’s win over Tauro ended RSL’s four-game losing streak across all competitions, RSL is still on a bit of a skid in MLS play, losing its last three league matches dating back to Aug. 4. The Claret-and-Cobalt needs a win against Philadelphia to get back into the race for the Supporters Shield, in which they currently trail league-leading San Jose by five points.
This matchup is the first – and only – time RSL will face off against the Union in the 2012 MLS regular season. Philadelphia has had a down year, struggling for results before firing former head coach Peter Nowak in June. The team has made some strides under new manager John Hackworth, but the club is still well out of playoff position, sitting in eighth-place in the East with just 24 points through 22 games.
Philadelphia last played Sunday, tying D.C. United 1-1 in the nation’s capital. The match got a bit crazy in the final minutes, with D.C. missing a penalty kick following an encroachment call in the 87th minute before Union DF Sheanon Williams was ejected in the 95th. Williams, a U.S. U-23 national team player, will be suspended for Friday’s game due to that red card.
Real Salt Lake will return to Utah this weekend following Friday’s match against the Union. The team will begin preparations early next week for a Sept. 1 home match against D.C. United.