Union vs. RSL 3
Greg Carroccio

Series history: A look at the all-time matchups between the Union and Real Salt Lake

For the second straight game, the Philadelphia Union battles a Western Conference foe it has yet to beat.

Real Salt Lake has proven a difficult opponent over the years, holding serve at Rio Tinto Stadium while scrapping for three straight draws at PPL Park. Philadelphia is just 0-2-3 all-time against Jason Kreis' team and will look for its first win in the series on the road in Sandy, Utah.

1. May 8, 2010: Real Salt Lake 3, Philadelphia 0 (Rio Tinto Stadium)

Goals: Beckerman 27', Olave 51', Saborio 70'

This one was pretty much a wash.

Real Salt Lake, defending champions at the time, bossed the majority of the game while the weary Union was playing its fourth straight road match (5 if you count the U.S. Open Cup).

Still, the Union, starting youngsters Kyle Nakazawa and Jack McInerney, had chances to go ahead early. McInerney pounced on a bad Nick Rimando clearance, but couldn't fire on the empty net fast enough. Roger Torres had another chance inside the box but was stopped by Rimando from close range.

Beckerman's game winner was scored shortly after, following a poor back-pass from Cristian Arrieta. Alvaro Saborio pounced on the loose ball and Beckerman slotted home the rebound after Chris Seitz' save.

2. August 11, 2010: Philadelphia 1, Real Salt Lake 1 (PPL Park)

Goals: Mwanga 8', Espindola '17

Philadelphia's first point against Real Salt Lake.

This one featured new signings Eduardo Coudet, Justin Mapp, and Juan Diego Gonzalez.

The Union started strong in this game, going ahead early thanks to an eighth minute goal from rookie Danny Mwanga. It was an excellent sequence, with Sebastien Le Toux playing a blindside flick off of Jordan Harvey's throw in. Mwanga ran onto the ball, took two touches, and beat Kyle Reynish at the near post.

But Salt Lake equalized through Fabian Espindola just nine minutes later. An innocuous ball into the box was misplayed by Gonzalez, forcing Danny Califf to slide over and help. Espindola took a touch around the Union center back and hit the equalizer past Chris Seitz.

The game finished, 1-1.

3. June 11, 2011: Philadelphia 1, Real Salt Lake 1 (PPL Park)

Goals: Daniel 24', Espindola 53'

Philadelphia undoubtedly outplayed RSL in this game, but dropped two points thanks to another equalizer from Espindola.

The Union looked to have gone ahead in the 22nd minute, but Sebastien Le Toux's goal, assisted by Keon Daniel, was flagged for offside.

Daniel would find redemption in the 24th, heading in his first Union goal from a Michael Farfan cross on the far end line.

Philadelphia then had three chances in the next three minutes, hitting the post through Le Toux and Carlos Valdes. Those chances came on either side of Michael Farfan's short-corner short, which was tipped over the bar by Rimando.

Espindola's goal defines the term "against the run of play". The striker picked up the ball on a counterattack, went 1 vs. 2 against the Union defense, and somehow beat Faryd Mondragon at the far post.

Despite outplaying and out-shooting RSL, the Union settled for another 1-1 draw.

4. September 3, 2011: Real Salt Lake 2, Philadelphia 1 (Rio Tinto Stadium)

Goals: Beckerman 18', Schuler 26', Le Toux 30'

The only really notable thing about this game is that Sebastien Le Toux finally broke out of his 2011 scoring slump with a phenomenal goal. Believe it or not, it was his first non-penalty kick goal of the entire season.

The scoreline doesn't really tell the whole of the story, but Philadelphia did have a chance to get a franchise-first result at Rio Tinto. The offense just couldn't find the equalizer in the second half.

This was also Zac MacMath's MLS debut. Faryd Mondragon left this game injured and Zac played the final 45. He would go on to start several straight games in his rookie season.

5. August 24, 2012: Philadelphia 0, Real Salt Lake 0 (PPL Park)

Goals: none

A scoreless draw on national television.

Danny Cruz had the best chance of the first half, missing his shot over the bar after Michael Farfan had done well to loop a ball over a defender and square into the box.

Cruz had another opportunity later, hitting a corner kick right off the near post. Ned Grabavoy had covered the space, but the ball caromed beyond the box and eventually was cleared.

In a chippy affair, both sides settled for a single point. 

What do you think the Union can expect from Real Salt Lake Wednesday night? Leave a message in the comments below. 

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com

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