We play diametrically opposed styles of soccer. We want to keep the ball, we want to possess, we want to attack. Kansas City want to kick people, pressure you all over the field and try to rely on set pieces and turnovers to generate their chances. – Garth Lagerwey told Grantland's Graham Parker in 2013

Every time Real Salt Lake plays against Sporting Kansas City, there's talk of ongoing and continued animosity between the two sides.

For several years, that wasn't too much of an issue. The two faced each other once, maybe twice a season, and that palpable sense of distaste rarely boiled over into anything too meaningful; it's rarely boiled over.

This year will be the first time the two sides have been in the same conference, and while the buildup has been relatively quiet, the play isn't likely to stay that way. Real Salt Lake and Kansas City are two teams that are, as former Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey put it in the buildup to the 2013 MLS Cup, “diametrically opposed” in their styles of play.

What brought these two teams to this level of animosity?

March 8, 2011: Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City, playing an exhibition match to prepare for the impending MLS season, end up in a brawl after Kansas City's Roger Espinoza tackles (badly, as per reports and claims from the players) Javier Morales. Some reports at the time had KC's Omar Bravo kicking somebody, perhaps Morales, and perhaps in the head.

No clear-cut details emerged from this incident, but then-RSL coach Jason Kreis withdrew his side from the match. After all, only a week later was RSL's second leg matchup against Costa Rican side Saprissa in CONCACAF Champions League, and there was no sense in risking injury with that match looming.

August 3, 2011: With Kansas City ahead 2-0 and in control of the game, midfielder Espinoza hacks down Kyle Beckerman with a lunging challenge from behind, receiving a red card for his troubles.

July 20, 2013: Real Salt Lake left back Chris Wingert, lucky to not see a red card in the opening minutes, is sent off in the 66th minute. Kansas City, in the 97th minute, scores a game-winner. The anger from the crowd is palpable as trash and detritus rains down on the pitch.

July 26, 2013: Grantland's Graham Parker publishes a piece in which Garth Lagerwey gives a quote that defines the budding rivalry between the two sides.

“We play diametrically opposed styles of soccer,” Lagerwey told Parker. “We want to keep the ball, we want to possess, we want to attack. Kansas City want to kick people, pressure you all over the field and try to rely on set pieces and turnovers to generate their chances.”

December 7, 2013: With a record-setting temperature of 0 degrees fahrenheit in Kansas City that day, Real Salt Lake and Sporting face off for MLS Cup 2013. Controversy comes quickly, with Aurelien Collin, who scored an equalizing goal in the second half after RSL went 1-0 up from a Saborio shot, arguably deserving a red card for several caution-worthy fouls. The match goes into penalties, and it takes 10 from each side to bring the match to a conclusion.

April 5, 2014: Less than four months after the MLS Cup Final, Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC face off again, and KC's Uri Rosell finds himself on the receiving end of a red card for a dangerous tackle on RSL's Devon Sandoval.

February 25, 2015: Nearly four years after Real Salt Lake and Kansas City played against each other in preseason affairs, the two sides end up against each other in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona. The match ends in a 2-1 win for RSL, but two minor scuffles and a plethora of fouls made the affair a chippy one.

Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox. Contact him at montgomery.matt@gmail.com.