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jane sexton

28 July 10:59 am

It won’t be hard for RSL fans to remember the last time the Claret-and-Cobalt and New York Red Bulls last met – almost a year ago to the day – in one of the most thrilling and heartbreaking matches of 2013. The two sides met at Red Bull Arena on July 27, 2013 with the home side getting off to a perfect start, taking the lead through Australian international MF Tim Cahill in the 11th minute and then doubling its lead after former Red Bulls and RSL FW Fabian Espindola converted from the spot 12 minutes later. Despite being down 2-0 on the road, the Claret-and-Cobalt went on to stage an amazing comeback led by RSL’s all-time leading scorer, FW Alvaro Saborio. The Costa Rican international went on to put in one of his best performances scoring three unanswered goals (45’, 80’, 82’) to give RSL the improbable lead. But RSL was unable to finish out the match, conceding two goals in the 89th and 94th minutes to fall 3-4 on the road.

Unfortunately, RSL will be without Saborio on Wednesday’s rematch due to injury, but last year’s match was a showcase of RSL’s grit, determination and team-wide talent. Let’s hope the Claret-and-Cobalt can put on another show and enact some revenge at home on Wednesday night in a nationally televised match on ESPN 2.

23 July 1:57 pm

MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Nick Firchau preview tomorrow's Pioneer Day tilt between Real Salt Lake and Montreal Impact. Give the preview a watch above.

22 July 3:03 pm

The last time Real Salt Lake and Montreal Impact met, RSL suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Stade Saputo on May 11, 2013. But now the tables are turned and RSL will be facing the Quebec club on its home turf at Rio Tinto Stadium for the second time ever in its history.

RSL’s loss last year saw Captain Kyle Beckerman put RSL up 2-1 with a 77th minute goal, but the Claret-and-Cobalt couldn’t hold the lead, with Montreal FW Marco Di Vaio equalizing from an offside position in the 80th minute before Impact DF Matteo Ferrari found the winner in the 93rd.

Get pumped for what RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar has called a “must-win” match against Montreal Impact on Thursday!

21 July 3:17 pm

The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-16’s were unable to win back-to-back championships on Saturday, falling 2-0 to LA Galaxy in the 2013-2014 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championship match held at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

The Claret-and-Cobalt were unable to stage a comeback after going down in the 28th minute through LA’s Dylan Smith, who tapped in a deflection off of RSL’s goalpost. The Galaxy recorded an insurance goal in the 51st minute when Juan Orozco volleyed home a blast from the top of the 18 yard box.

Real Salt Lake entered Saturday’s final looking to win its second-straight USSDA U-16 Championship title. The defending champs advanced to the final match after putting in a dominant performance in its semifinal game two days earlier - a 5-1 rout of Strikers FC.

Despite the loss and second-place finish on Saturday, the RSL-AZ U-16’s had a fantastic year finishing first in the USSDA Southwest Division and West Conference. The Claret-and-Cobalt also snagged multiple end-of-year conference awards, with RSL’s Sebastian Saucedo winning Player of the Year along with a Forward of the Year honor in the West. Real Salt Lake first-team homegrown signing Justen Glad picked up a Defender of the Year award as well. In the team awards, the entire U-16 squad took home the Style of Play honor.

The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-18 squad was also represented in the conference awards with midfielder Jose Hernandez earning Midfielder of the Year accolades.

In the overall awards, the entire Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy program took home the Best Training Facility honor in the West Conference.

21 July 12:54 pm

The RSL Family has an opportunity do some good this week as Major League Soccer has announced the finalists for the MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo. All 19 MLS teams have a Community MVP nominee that will have the chance to be voted the Grand Prize winner by fans. Real Salt Lake’s candidate is Tyler Stockstill, founder of the Utah Development Academy (UDA), a community organization that addresses character development and leadership, healthy lifestyles, and academic excellence through soccer-based programming.

In the past two years Tyler has volunteered an average of 30 hours per week towards establishing UDA with the goal of “equaling the playing field” and providing opportunities for all children, regardless of financial standing, to participate in youth soccer. For more information on Tyler and his organization please visit http://www.udasoccer.org/.

The Grand Prize winner, as voted by the fans, will be awarded a $10,000 donation for the charity of their choice and a trip to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game in Portland. Fan voting is open now through July 25 on the MLS WORKS web site: www.MLSsoccer.com/CommunityMVP.

Fans may also vote by tweeting: “I vote for the @MLSWORKS @WellsFargo @RealSaltLake #CommunityMVP” from 12 p.m. ET on July 24 through 12 p.m. ET on July 25.

The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Friday, July 25 at 2pm ET via twitter by @MLSWORKS. 

Let’s get Tyler to Portland!

18 July 5:33 pm

MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Nick Firchau take a crack at previewing Saturday's tilt between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Give the preview a watch above - certainly worth the time.

18 July 1:55 pm

The latest MLS Insider chronicles the return of several U.S. World Cup players to their MLS clubs - capturing the adulation, media hype, and players' reflections on the tournament and the sport's progress at home. The Insider crew captured the return of RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman and veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando to Real Salt Lake. Watch the well-done video above.

17 July 4:52 pm

Real Salt Lake kicks off its three-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT.

Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:

Real Salt Lake looks to capitalize on upcoming homestand

The Claret-and-Cobalt enters Saturday’s match coming off another disappointing road result – a 1-0 loss at LA Galaxy on July 12. RSL has been in a bit of a summer slump, registering just one win in its last seven matches in MLS play. With the Claret-and-Cobalt playing five of the next six matches at home, the Utah club will be looking to capitalize on its home field advantage and collect as many points as possible before heading into the final stretch of the season – just two points separate second-place RSL and fifth-place FC Dallas which occupies the last playoff spot. Real Salt Lake is 4-1-3 at home this year, and posts a successful all-time home record, going 77-32-41 in MLS regular-season play during 10 seasons on Utah soil, and outscoring opponents 246-146.

Nick Rimando in pursuit of the all-time MLS shutout record

Real Salt Lake veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando is one clean sheet away from tying retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS shutout record with 112. If the 35-year-old ties the record this weekend, Rimando will have as many cleans sheets as Hartman in 59-less games. Hartman achieved 112 shutouts through 416 games played; Rimando has currently played 356 MLS regular season games. The California native will likely surpass the record this year, with 16 MLS matches left to play in the 2014 regular season.

Real Salt Lake looks to snap recent scoring drought

Real Salt Lake has found goals hard to come by in its last seven matches in MLS, recording only four goals in that time frame. With last Saturday’s 1-0 shutout at LA, RSL has now gone 337 minutes without scoring a goal from open play. The last time a goal was scored from open play was when RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland found the back of the net in the 23rd minute of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers on June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake has also suffered four shutouts in its last seven MLS matches.

Real Salt Lake got off to a fantastic start to the season, scoring 23 goals through its first 11 matches. But with international absences (World Cup) and injuries (Saborio broken foot), the Claret-and-Cobalt has struggled to score consistently.

Will lightning strike twice on Saturday?

Real Salt Lake will have some bitter memories heading into Saturday’s tilt with Vancouver. The last time the two sides met on April 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Vancouver staged a wild two-goal comeback in the final minutes of the match to snatch what looked like a sure win from RSL to draw 2-2. The Claret-and-Cobalt jump out to an early lead through goals from forwards Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio, but RSL was unable to hold onto the lead, allowing Vancouver to score in the 86th and 94th minutes. The Claret-and-Cobalt has made late goals a bit of a habit this year, so Saturday’s contest will be a great chance to demonstrate that the club has learned from its early season mistakes and it can close out matches.

17 July 2:00 pm

Saturday’s matchup between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will likely feature an entertaining clash of the Morales’. RSL’s own Javier Morales will go up against Vancouver’s offseason DP addition, 28-year-old Pedro Morales – who spent the last two seasons with Spain’s La Liga side Malaga CF. If both Morales’ start on Saturday, it will be the first meeting between the two, as Pedro did not appear for the ‘Caps in the clubs’ first encounter of the season at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 26. With the 2014 MLS season past the halfway mark, revisiting a statistical analysis of the two will give greater insight into the influence both Morales’ have had on their respective clubs this year.

Javier and Pedro have a lot more in common than just their last names. The two both hail from neighboring countries in South America – Javier from Argentina and Pedro from Chile. But don’t let their proximity fool you; Argentina and Chile aren’t known to have the best relations which include a deep futbol rivalry between the nations. On the pitch, both Javier and Pedro play a similar role for their respective clubs, both serve as the attacking playmaker on the field – positions associated with the famed number 10.

Javier has been with RSL for his entire MLS career and is now in his eighth season with the Claret-and-Cobalt, so drawing comparisons for the two is a bit premature, but both Morales’ stats in 2014 seem to show how similar the two players might really be.

Javier has started all but one of RSL’s matches this year, appearing in 17 (out of 18) games for a total of 1,515 minutes of playing time. The Argentine has notched five goals and five assists, and recorded a total of 28 shots with eight shots on goal. Pedro has also made 17 appearances this year for his club, 15 of which were starts, for a total of 1,363 minutes. Pedro has six goals and eight assists on the year, and has pulled the trigger more often, registering a total of 52 shots with 20 on goal.

Here are some comparable stats between the two:

STATS

Javier Morales (RSL) 1,515 min.

Pedro Morales (VAN) 1,363 min.

Chances created (incl. assists)

62

47

Chances created from open play

49

39

Chances created from set play

13

8

Passing Accuracy

81.31

81.02

Passing accuracy in opp. half

78.44

77.18

Passing accuracy in final third

71.22

69.27

Passes into final third

178

210

Successful crosses/corners

30

28

As you can see from the above table, the two playmakers have similar stats halfway through the 2014 season. Passing accuracy between the two is almost even across the board. Javier has the upper hand on total number of chances created while Pedro claims more passes into the final third. Both have a similar number of successful crosses/corners. The most glaring difference between the two is rather the number of shots taken and shots on goal.

Saturday’s matchup is expected be an entertaining one, especially if both Morales’ play, but hopefully not as entertaining as the last meeting between the sides that saw RSL concede two late goals in the final five minutes to draw 2-2.