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23 October 11:40 am

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar will have his eyes fixed on his television set on Saturday, taking in a weekend of MLS action that has potential for drama all across the Western Conference. 

That will include a nationally televised tilt between Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy with the Supporters’ Shield on the line on Saturday at 12:30 pm MT (NBC), as well as the meeting between Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Colorado Rapids at 8 pm MT (MLS Live).

However, the most important match of the bunch for Cassar comes at 6:30 pm MT when FC Dallas hosts the Portland Timbers.  While the other two Western Conference matchups hold entertainment value and will serve as good scouting tools for potential playoff opponents, the Dallas-Portland match will determine RSL’s playoff fate.

Currently in third place in the Western Conference, RSL needs Portland to win or draw in the match to remain in that position, avoiding the Knockout Round match, which would take place mid-week next week.  If Dallas wins, Salt Lake would finish the season fourth in the West and host that Knockout Round match against Vancouver.

“I’ll definitely be in front of the TV.  Scouting, preparing.  I’m going to be preparing for two teams, Vancouver and Portland and then we’ll see where it goes from there,” Cassar told media after RSL’s 2-0 win over Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night.  “It’s definitely not time to sit on the couch and relax.  I’ll be taking notes and preparing.  Not rooting for anything.  I’m just going to prepare my team the best that I can.”

While Cassar has his team prepared for all-comers in the post-season, his players were unashamed to announce their allegiances in Saturday night’s match between Dallas and Portland.

When asked if he would be rooting for anyone in the weekend matches, RSL defender Chris Wingert had no hesitation in his answer.

“Well, Portland,” Wingert said.  “I’d rather not have to play that extra game.”

If Portland is able to win or draw, RSL would host whoever finishes second in the West.  If Sounders FC wins or draws against LA on Saturday, Salt Lake would host the Galaxy in the Western Conference Semifinal.  If LA wins, Seattle would travel to Rio Tinto Stadium for that series.

While Wingert played unabashed favorites in the Dallas-Portland match, he knows that either opponent would cause a stiff test for RSL.

“In terms of the Seattle-LA matchup, take your pick.  I think either way it’s going to be an incredibly tough challenge for us.  Not only are both great teams, but we have had great matchups with both teams in the playoffs multiple times,” Wingert said.  “I think it would be a little bit fitting to be able to play LA, just because of Landon going out and the fact that between the two teams there have been so many finals and represented the West and stuff, but Seattle we had a great rivalry with too and we’re excited to play here or at their place.”

The Dallas-Portland match will be featured as the free stream of the week on MLS Live.  To watch that match at 6:30 pm MT on Saturday, visit http://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2014-10-25-fc-dallas-vs-portland-timbers.

20 October 4:47 pm

After so many goals and victories at Rio Tinto Stadium, players for Real Salt Lake turn to its ever-fervent crowd, celebrating their own accomplishments while also acknowledging the role played by the sell-out crowds in Sandy.

On Wednesday, that relationship between the club and its supporters will be formally celebrated on Fan Appreciation Night as RSL takes on Chivas USA in the regular season finale.

“They’ve been incredible.  Our record has been very good at home this year and that’s a credit to our fans,” RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar said from the team’s training facility on Monday.  “Without a doubt they give us energy and we wouldn’t be where we are without them, that’s for sure.”

Real holds the league’s third-best home record this season at 10-1-5, the lone defeat coming clear back in June against the Portland Timbers.  With crowds reaching club-record heights, averaging 20,332 per game through the first 16 home matches, the players have taken notice and aim to reward that support against Chivas on Wednesday.

“The fans are really into it and they’ve supported us all the way through.  Hopefully we can return the favor a little bit by having some success,” said RSL DF Chris Wingert, who is in his eight season with the Claret-and-Cobalt.  “That’s the best way we know how is to give it our all and hopefully we can provide a couple home games for them here in the next month.”

There is a lot at stake in the final match of the 2014 season, with Real aiming to put itself into the third spot in the Western Conference playoffs, avoiding the Knockout Round match between the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams.

In addition to celebrating Fan Appreciation Night in the stadium, RSL will also be bringing the celebration to the fans all week through various appearances by club mascot Leo, who will be popping in on various locations around the city throughout the week.

Stay tuned to Twitter (@RealSaltLake) and Instagram (realsaltlake) for further updates and information on how to get RSL swag.

20 October 2:55 pm

RSL needs a win in order for a chance to finish third in the west

Real Salt Lake slipped into fourth-place in the Western Conference this weekend after the Claret-and-Cobalt played Portland Timbers to a 0-0 draw on Friday and FC Dallas defeated Colorado Rapids 1-0 on Saturday. The Texas club now sits in third-place with one more point than RSL (54) and a 16-11-6 record. In order for the Claret-and-Cobalt to earn a third-place finish and avoid the Knockout Round, RSL will have to record a win on Wednesday and have FC Dallas draw or lose to Portland on Saturday. If both clubs end the season even on points, the Hoops have the advantage in the first tiebreaker with two more wins than RSL with only one match remaining in the regular season.

RSL 0-2-0 against Chivas USA in 2014

Real Salt Lake will be looking for its first win against Chivas USA this year, with the Claret-and-Cobalt losing in both of the clubs’ previous encounters. In their first meeting of the year on June 28 at StubHub Center, RSL went down to ten men in the ninth minute after midfielder Luke Mulholland saw straight red for a tackle on midfielder Martin Rivero, and could not overcome a 35th minute goal scored by forward Erick Torres. RSL suffered a similar fate when it faced the Red-and-White in California again on Oct. 5, falling 1-0 as the visitors for a second time.  Chivas USA’s success against the Claret-and-Cobalt this year has been surprising as the SoCal club has struggled mightily, going 8-18-6 in 2014 and is currently tied for last place in the Western Conference with Colorado Rapids.

RSL has found some success at home against the Goats, going 6-3-3 against the Red-and-White in Utah. RSL is also currently riding a two-game win streak at home against the SoCal club.

Regular season finale

Wednesday’s clash with Chivas USA will be the Claret-and-Cobalt’s final regular season match of 2014, with the club looking to improve its final record at home. Real Salt Lake has gone 10-1-5 at Rio Tinto Stadium this year, recording just one loss to the Portland Timbers on June 7, and is one victory away from tying its all-time best of 11 home wins. With a win on Wednesday, RSL will break its all-time single-season points at home record with 38, surpassing the 2010 record of 37. Real Salt Lake is also four tallies away from breaking its single-season home goals record of 34 which was notched in 2009.

Final match v. Chivas USA

Real Salt Lake will likely play its fellow 2005 expansion team, Chivas USA, for the last time on Wednesday night, as the SoCal club seems destined to suspend operations in 2015. It has been reported that Chivas USA will remain closed for two years while it takes the time to find new owners and fully rebrand. The Goats have struggled mightily in recent years, and will now miss the playoffs for a fifth-straight season.

Real Salt Lake has gone 12-12-4 all-time against Chivas USA in the regular season, posting a 6-3-3 home record and 6-9-1 road record. The two clubs met once in the playoffs in 2008, with RSL winning the first leg 1-0 at home and drawing 2-2 on the road to advance to the Western Conference Championship, where it ultimately fell to New York Red Bulls.

16 October 3:32 pm

The latest episode of the Emmy-Nominated MLS Insider series profiled Nick Rimando this week after the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper broke the all-time MLS record with his 113th career shutout against D.C. United on August 9.  The feature dives into the highs and lows of Rimando’s storied career, from winning MLS Cup with D.C. United in 2004 to finding himself traded twice in two weeks prior to the 2007 season.  His teammates, Head Coach Jeff Cassar and General Manager Garth Lagerway all talked about Rimando’s role with the club while Rimando and his wife discussed the behind-the-scenes story of how he landed with the Claret-and-Cobalt. 

16 October 3:02 pm

Real Salt Lake defenders Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler and Chris Wingert and midfielder Luke Mulholland are all profiled in the most recent issue of Salt Lake City’s Downtown Magazine. The four city-dwellers reflect on what it’s like living in downtown SLC and share some of their favorite things to do off the pitch.

Check out their profiles and pictures here: http://issuu.com/amcintyre/docs/downtownalliance2014/37

10 October 3:21 pm

Real Salt Lake will have another chance to clinch a playoff berth tonight, as a Vancouver Whitecaps FC loss will secure RSL a spot in the postseason. The ‘Caps take on Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field at 8:00 p.m. MT. The match will be nationally broadcast on NBCSN.

So after tonight’s USA v. Ecuador match (5:00 p.m. MT, ESPN), make sure to catch the Cascadia Cup clash and hope Seattle and can take of business at home.

All RSL Playoff Scenarios

Real Salt Lake will clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Real Salt Lake win vs San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday

OR

  • Real Salt Lake tie vs San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday AND
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC tie vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Friday

OR

  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Friday
09 October 3:19 pm

Real Salt Lake will look to clinch a seventh-straight playoff berth on Saturday, when it hosts San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Saturday’s contest will be the last regular season meeting between the two clubs this year, going 0-0-2 against San Jose in 2014. Real Salt Lake played the Quakes to a wild 3-3 draw on March 15 and a 1-1 tie on Aug. 30, both at Buck Shaw Stadium. In their last encounter, San Jose took an early lead in the 14th minute through MF Sam Cronin, but RSL was able to pull even in the 36th minute when RSL MF Javier Morales converted a PK to earn the road point.

Real Salt Lake will be without a few key starters on Saturday, as GK Nick Rimando, MF Luis Gil, and FWs Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio are unavailable due to international call-ups. The Claret-and-Cobalt will also be without Morales who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Despite key absences, RSL will have a good chance to get a result on Saturday as San Jose is currently riding a 12-game winless streak in MLS action and is officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Ahead of this weekend’s clash, check out the Aug. 30 match highlights above.

08 October 4:16 pm

Real Salt Lake has multiple ways to clinch a playoff berth this week, with its first opportunity to do so tonight, when the Portland Timbers host San Jose Earthquakes at 8:30 p.m. MT. If Portland records a loss or tie against San Jose, the Claret-and-Cobalt will have clinched a seventh-straight spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs – the longest active streak in MLS.

So all RSL fans should be glued to their screens tonight, hoping for a Timbers loss - which shouldn't be too hard of course.

RSL Playoff Scenarios:

Real Salt Lake will clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Real Salt Lake win vs San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday

OR

  • Real Salt Lake tie vs San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday AND
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC tie or lose vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday OR
  • Portland Timbers tie or lose vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday

OR

  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday OR
  • Portland Timbers lose/tie vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday