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Real Salt Lake takes aim vs. Minnesota in rematch of opener

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Real Salt Lake hopes to enjoy a repeat of its offensive success in a rematch with Minnesota United when the two clubs face off in Sandy, Utah on Saturday.

Salt Lake (2-1-2, 8 points) showcased a crisp offensive attack when it downed the Loons on the road 2-1 in the Utah club’s season opener on April 24. Minnesota had no answer for Anderson Julio or Rubio Rubin, as Rubin connected with Juilo on a pair of goals in the victory.

While Julio secured a brace in his club debut, Rubin has continued to be a consistent playmaker for RSL. Rubin scored his team-best fourth goal in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas last weekend. He is tied for third among MLS players in goals scored heading into this weekend’s matches.

His early goal against Dallas kept Salt Lake within striking distance so Damir Kreilach could get the equalizer in the 86th minute. It gave RSL a valuable road point and kept them undefeated away from home (1-0-1).

“I don’t think we gave up hope at any moment,” Salt Lake coach Freddy Juarez said. “We have players that have tremendous mentality this year. I believe the guys come into every game believing they can win, not just wanting to win, but they really believe they can win and that’s football.”

Minnesota (2-4-0, 6 points) is hoping to build on the momentum it gained before a bye week. The Loons opened the season with four straight losses before breaking through with back-to-back, 1-0 victories at home over Vancouver and Dallas.

This will be a new-look club facing Salt Lake. New signings Adrien Hunou and Franco Fragapane give the Loons some new attacking options. That’s a big deal for a club that’s scored just five goals through six matches.

A victory or draw could carry serious weight for Minnesota in making up ground in a Western Conference before a three-week international break.

“As I’ve said before, no matter what we say as a staff, the thing that breeds most confidence in players is winning games,” Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said. “The last two games, they’ve won. We’ve played well, we need to keep that going now.”

Minnesota leads 4-2-4 in the all-time series with Salt Lake. The Loons have never beaten RSL in Utah.

–Field Level Media

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