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23 August 1:37 pm

Real Salt Lake continues MLS regular season play with its third match in seven games to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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

Columbus has RSL’s number

Salt Lake has posted only a 3-3-1 mark all-time at home against the Crew, with a 4-10-1 overall record, its worst against any MLS opponent. The Utah side has dropped 5 of the last 6 regular-season matches against Columbus, but does boast 2009 MLS Cup Playoff and 2011 CONCACAF Champions League knockout series wins over the Crew. The Black & Gold is 3-0-0 in its last three against the Claret-and-Cobalt, including a pair of shut-out victories, as well as a 2-0 win at the RioT in Columbus’s most recent visit on July 30, 2011.

The Crew bring its best for the best

Columbus is sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference with 29 points, but the Ohio side is no pushover. Riding a two game winning streak, the Crew has made the most of its opportunities against the league’s top teams, beating the Montreal Impact, Portland Timbers and New York Red Bulls, all of whom were in first place when facing the Black & Gold. With Real sitting atop the MLS table with 42 points, coach Jason Kreis’s side will be facing a pesky opponent.

Returns for RSL

Captain Kyle Beckerman served his suspension for yellow card accumulation and GK Nick Rimando sat out due to a stomach virus during Wednesday’s fixture against the Portland Timbers, but the Utah side still managed to get a 3-3 result on the road. For Saturday’s meeting against the Crew, the midfielder is available for selection and the goalkeeper can return to his spot in net. Expect the RSL stalwarts to add leadership and organization to an already veteran squad.

Scoring without Sabo

Nursing a right calf strain, the Claret-and-Cobalt’s all-time leading scorer Alvaro Saborio didn’t see the field in Wednesday’s match and sat out of training on Friday. The RSL boss ruled him out for Saturday’s game, but the Utah side is used to production from its entire squad. Including four Open Cup games, the 48 RSL goals in the last 20 fixtures have been scored from 17 different sources - by 16 different players - surpassing the club’s total number of goalscorers for the entirety of 2012. The latest man to newly contribute to the attack was MF Cole Grossman, whose equalizer at Portland was the former Duke standout’s second-ever MLS goal and his first with RSL.

Clash of the Argentines

All RSL fans know about Argentine playmaker Javier Morales, but Columbus has some South American flair of its own with Federico Higuain. The Crew DP is the engine for his team’s attack, tallying six assists and nine goals in MLS play. The same could be said for Morales, who is tied for fourth in the league in assists with eight. The winner of this clash of Argentines will have a major impact on the game’s result.

Grossman to face his old team

The midfielder’s now-famous return to the field last Wednesday against Portland came just before he’ll face his old team. The former Duke Blue Devil was selected by Columbus in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, appearing in 12 league games and scoring one goal with the Black & Gold. With Grossman healthy and confident due to his game-tying goal, the 24-year-old could get some action against his former club.

09 August 2:01 pm

Real Salt Lake will return to MLS action on Saturday, when it will take on the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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

Houston, we have a problem

Historically, RSL has fared poorly against the Houston Dynamo, posting a 3-9-5 record against the Orange. The Claret-and-Cobalt has won just once in its last 12 league matches against the Dynamo, last beating the Texas side on May 13, 2010.  

Some good news: The Claret-and-Cobalt has done well against Houston at home, posting a 3-1-4 record against the Dynamo in the Beehive State.

Morales and Saborio dynamite against the Dynamo

Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio both have strong career numbers against Houston, with Morales notching two goals and four assists in nine career league games against the Dynamo and Saborio scoring two goals and registering one assist in four career games.

Saborio has been particularly hot lately, scoring five goals and assisting once in three games in all competitions since returning to RSL from international duty ahead of the July 27 loss at New York.

Rimando v. Hall

Saturday’s contest will be a battle between two of the top goalkeepers in the league, with RSL’s Nick Rimando and Houston’s Tally Hall facing off in between the pipes. RSL’s “Wall of the Wasatch,” Rimando has the best save percentage in MLS this year, stopping 78 percent of shots fired at the net. Hall isn’t far behind, tied for third with a save percentage of 74 percent. With both sides attacking well, Rimando v. Hall could be the deciding matchup in the game.

Kreis v. Kinnear

Saturday’s match will also pit two of the top coaches in MLS against each other in Jason Kreis and Dominic Kinnear. The two young American coaches most often discussed for future USMNT and other high-profile jobs, Kinnear and Kreis rank third and fourth, respectively, in terms of active MLS coaches in wins, trailing only Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena. Kinnear has a record of 123-82-98 in MLS play, while the younger Kreis has an 85-57-52 mark in league action.

Red Alert?

Real Salt Lake and Houston have combined for eight red card in 14 matches dating back to 2007. Mercifully, no reds have been shown in this series since 2009, when five ejections occurred in three matches between the clubs. 

07 August 12:25 pm

Real Salt Lake continues its road in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tonight, when it will take on the Portland Timbers at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium in the tournament’s semifinals.

Here are a few interesting storylines to watch ahead of Wednesday’s match: 

The return of Will Johnson

Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson will be making his return to the RioT for the first time since being traded from RSL back in December 2012. The Rose City captain has led the side to its best start in the club’s short MLS history with 35 points in 22 games. The former Claret-and-Cobalt stalwart appeared in 120 regular season games with RSL, including all 14 of the Utah side’s playoff matches. In 2009, Johnson hoisted the MLS Cup Championship with Salt Lake as a main contributor.

The first of many clashes

Wednesday’s match will be the first of at least four meetings between the two clubs this year. Three of the four meetings will come in the next three weeks, with RSL hosting Portland tonight in the Open Cup, Portland hosting RSL on Aug. 21 and the Claret-and-Cobalt taking on the Timbers at the RioT on Aug. 30. The sides will wrap up their regular season series against each other in the Pacific Northwest on Oct. 19. That may not be the last RSL-Portland meeting of the year, however; with RSL in first in the West and Portland not far behind in second, a potential playoff matchup could be on the horizon.

Home Final on the line

The winner of Wednesday’s match will not only advance to the U.S. Open Cup Final, they’ll host it, too, taking on the winner of tonight’s Chicago-D.C. semi in the title game this fall. It would be the first time either state has entertained an Open Cup Final – the all-important CONCACAF Champion’s League birth that goes to the tournament winner would only serve to ratchet up the stakes.

Morales a maybe

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis was forced into a precautionary substitution in the 24th minute of the club’s match against the Colorado Rapids last Saturday, bringing midfielder Javier Morales off with a right adductor injury. Whether or not Morales features on Wednesday night will play a big role in the outcome of the match.

Kreis v. Porter

Wednesday’s matchup will pit two of the brightest young American coaches against each other in RSL’s Jason Kreis and Portland’s Caleb Porter. Known for their possession brands of soccer and fiery attitudes, both Kreis and Porter have been complimentary of each other in the press this week, both saying that they’ve been looking forward to the first RSL-Portland matchup all year.  

31 July 1:43 pm

Real Salt Lake has a solid history in the MLS All-Star Game, with Claret-and-Cobalt players seeing the field in five previous iterations of the match, including each of the last four. 

That streak will extend to five on Wednesday night, when Kyle Beckerman will start for the MLS All-Stars against AS Roma at 7:00 p.m. MT at Sporting Parkon ESPN2 and UniMas. Fellow RSL All-Stars Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando could also see time in the match, though All-Star Head Coach Peter Vermes has already indicated that Rimando won't be starting. 

Here's how RSL's All-Stars have fared on the field in past All-Star Games:

July 19, 2007 - The MLS All-Stars took on Scottish side Celtic FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, winning 2-0. Eddie Pope registered Salt Lake’s first All-Star minutes when he replaced Michael Parkhurst in the 83rd minute. 

July 29, 2009 – The Rio Tinto Stadium All-Star Game saw three Real Salt Lake players take part in MLS’s penalty kick shootout loss, with Kyle Beckerman starting the game and playing the first half, Will Johnson entering for Beckerman and scoring in the shootout and Javier Morales coming on in the 64th minute.

July 28, 2010 - Facing European power Manchester United, Javier Morales and Jamison Olave started and Nick Rimando cleaned up in Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s Man. United debut, a 5-2 loss for MLS in Houston.

July 27, 2011 - Again playing the Red Devils but this time in New York, Jamison Olave made it a third-straight year with a RSL man in the First XI, famously besting Wayne Rooney in a foot race. Unfortunately, Olave got hurt shortly after chasing down Rooney, spraining his knee and missing five games upon his return to RSL. Kyle Beckerman also played, entering the match in the second half for Shalrie Joseph as the All-Stars fell 4-0.

July 25, 2012 - Squaring off against Chelsea at PPL Park, Kyle Beckerman represented the Claret-and-Cobalt as a sub, notching the game-winning assist on Seattle forward Eddie Johnson’s 91st minute goal to give the All-Stars a 3-2 win. 

19 July 2:28 pm

Real Salt Lake returns to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, when it will take on Eastern Conference power Sporting Kansas City for the only time this year. Saturday’s match will kick at 8:00 p.m., with Pioneer Day fireworks following the game.

Here are a few interesting storylines to watch ahead of Wednesday’s match: 

11 Game Unbeaten run on line

A week ago, Jason Kreis’ team weathered the early storm at Dallas to record a 3-0 road win, breaking its “Texas Hex” to win on Lone Star soil for the first time ever, courtesy of a Javier Morales game-winning goal, heroics from Josh Sauders and Jeff Attinella in the net and insurance strikes from Ned Grabavoy and Olmes Garcia. The victory extended the club-record unbeaten streak to 11 consecutive games in all competitions to cruise to the top of the MLS table with 37 points and a record of 11-5-4.

RSL faces another contender

Saturday’s match will be Salt Lake’s second-straight contest against the second-place club in MLS. Kansas City comes in leading the Eastern Conference with 33 points and a record of 9-5-6.

Rio Tinto regains Fortress status

Since an April 27 home 0-2 defeat to LA, RSL hasn’t dropped a game in Sandy, winning four of its last six home matches with a goal difference of +9. Overall the Utah side is 9-1-3 at Rio Tinto Stadium this year.

Depth on display

When goalkeeper Josh Saunders tore his left ACL in the 49th minute at Dallas, RSL looked to backup Jeff Attinella to complete the game. The team’s third-string GK became the 25th player from RSL’s 30-man group to start a first team match this season, including 22 field players.

Welcome Brandon McDonald to the Wasatch

On Wednesday, the Claret-and-Cobalt traded a 2014 third-round pick to D.C. United for DF Brandon McDonald, a six-year veteran center back who logged nearly 3,000 minutes last year. McDonald is an Arizona native who grew up playing with forward Robbie Findley in the famed Serano youth club. With Nat Borchers and Aaron Maund the only currently healthy center backs on the RSL roster, the 27-year-old McDonald provides depth and experience while Carlos Salcedo and Chris Schuler recover from injury.

Duty calls

Both teams will be without several players on Wednesday night due to CONCACAF Gold Cup call ups.

RSL will be without all-time leading scorer Alvaro Saborio for the fourth straight match after he departed for the Costa Rican national team ahead of a June 29 win at Toronto; that victory at BMO Field was the last match for likely a month for a trio of RSL’s US internationals Captain Kyle Beckerman, defender Tony Beltran and goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Sporting Kansas City will be without its star center back, losing MLS All-Star Matt Besler to the U.S. national team.

02 July 3:41 pm

Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action on Wednesday, when it will take on the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium. Wednesday's match will kickoff at 8:00 p.m. with Independence Day fireworks following the game.

Here are a few interesting storylines to watch ahead of Wednesday’s match: 

RSL on a tear

Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Toronto extended RSL’s active club-record win streak to 7 consecutive games in all competitions (4-0-0 MLS, 3-0-0 U.S. Open Cup). During the month of June, RSL went 6-0-0 in MLS/USOC play, outscoring its opponents 17-3.

No brotherly love

Real Salt Lake has never lost to Philadelphia, posting a 2-0-3 mark in five league matches against the Union. The Claret-and-Cobalt is a perfect 2-0-0 against the Union at Rio Tinto Stadium, beating Philadelphia 3-0 in Sandy on May 8, 2010 and 2-1 on Sept. 3, 2011.  

Rio Tinto Stadium regains “Fortress” status

After losing six home games in 2012, RSL has re-established the RioT as “The Fortress” this season, posting a 9-1-2 record across all competitions. RSL is now 69-13-21 in its last 103 home games dating back to the beginning of 2008, Jason Kreis’ first full season. In that span, RSL has outscored opponents by 128 goals (191-71), with a 55-10-23 regular season mark, 6-1-1 CCL record, 3-1-1 playoffs, 4-1-0 Open Cup and 2-0-1 in international exhibitions.

100 in sight

A victory on Wednesday would be Real Salt Lake’s 100th MLS regular season win. Head Coach Jason Kreis notched win No. 100 in all competitions with last week’s Open Cup win over Carolina, with Saturday’s win at Toronto his 101st all-time in regular season, playoff, CCL and USOC play.

Duty calls

Both teams will be without several players on Wednesday night due to CONCACAF Gold Cup call ups.

RSL will be without all-time leading scorer Alvaro Saborio for the second straight match after he departed for the Costa Rican national team ahead of Saturday’s win at Toronto; that victory at BMO Field was the last match for likely a month for a trio of RSL’s US internationals Captain Kyle Beckerman, defender Tony Beltran and goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Philadelphia will be without two players, losing MLS leading scorer Jack McInerney to the U.S. national team and midfielder Keon Daniel to the Trinidad & Tobago squad. 

25 June 4:14 pm

Real Salt Lake faces the NASL leading Carolina RailHawks Wednesday in the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Luckily for the Claret-and-Cobalt, midfielder Enzo Martinez played for Carolina earlier this year while on a short term loan, appearing in three games and totaling 74 minutes played, and had the scoop on the RailHawks.

Here is how the former North Carolina Tar Heel felt about the second-division side:

On what it was like to play for Carolina:

It was good. I got playing time, which I liked. I enjoyed all of the players. [They] Were really good guys. I played with like five or six of them from before so they are a good team, hard-working team, a humble team so it’ll be a good one.”

On Carolina forward Brian Shriver, who leads NASL with eight goals:

“He’s a great player. He’s a true number nine. When he gets an opportunity, he puts it in the back of the net. He’s got a lot of speed. I think both of their forwards combine well and know each other really well. I know Shriver from North Carolina so I think he’s a great player.”

On what fans can expect from the RailHawks at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night:

“I think they’ll be more open. When I played with them, even when we played away, they didn’t sit back. They tried to score goals and that’s what they do right. So I don’t think they’ll be sitting back too much. Maybe they’ll be smart about how they press, but not like Charleston.”