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sam stejskal

04 December 10:54 pm

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Chris Kamrani and Kurt Kragthorpe have been providing great RSL coverage all week, comprehensively covering the Claret-and-Cobalt as they march towards MLS Cup 2013 at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

Their strong coverage continued on Wednesday, with the pair of SL Trib writers sitting down with Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen. Kamrani wrote up Part I of II of a transcript of their interview with Hansen for SLTrib.com on Wednesday night, and he’s graciously allowed us to post a few highlights of the conversation below. Check out Part I of the transcript in its entirety here.

And if you haven’t already, make sure to check out Kamrani’s excellent stories on RSL’s 2013 re-tool and Robbie Findley and Kragthorpe’s column on RSL’s place in the Utah sports landscape.

A couple of highlights of Hansen’s interview with the pair are below:

On the status of contract talks with RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis, whom Hansen said requested to wait until the end of the season to figure out his status with the club following the pair’s last round of negotiations before the Oct. 1 Open Cup Final:

Hansen: "I trust Jason will make the very best decision for his family and what mountain he needs to climb," he explained. "He’s climbed some pretty big mountains."

"Jason is remarkable," Hansen continued. "The cool part being Jason at this point in his career, at 40, having six years to the playoffs — no one’s done more — having competed now twice for the national cup — if he wins, he’ll be one of five — you have to stand back and say, ‘What’s his next mountain?’ And I honestly think if we win, and CONCACAF [Champions League] is possible, I think that gives us a teetering edge that there’s an objective for him to accomplish.

"I think as you get to be a great man, and Jason early in his life is, you start saying, ‘What mountains are there for me to climb?’ I really think it is that — I don’t think it’s a money issue whatsoever. I think it’s what mountains can you put in front of me? Maybe one of Jason’s goals is he wants to be men’s national team coach some time. What resume do you need to build to do that? I give Jason a lot of credit, he’s very thoughtful about how he does it. He’s totally focused on the game — he’ll think about that after the game."

On his favorite story from RSL’s Western Conference Championship series second leg win at Portland on Nov. 24:

Hansen: "Nat Borchers and his beard came up to me with fire in his eyes and said, ‘I love taking a win on somebody else’s field. It was just like a Viking had come onto that field, and was not going to let it go," 

We don’t want to steal too much of Kamrani’s post, so that’s all for here. Just go read the whole thing – trust us, it’s worth the time.

03 December 3:32 pm

Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Tuesday afternoon, answering a wide-range of questions from fans around the league ahead of Saturday’s MLS Cup at Sporting Kansas City.

Below are a few highlights from Beltran’s AMA, which you can find in its entirety here.

Reddit user Misplays4days: Hey Tony! I’m curious, what is the most memorable game you've played in??

Beltran: Hmm. Two years ago we played Seattle away in the first round of the playoffs. We had a three goal lead and ended up losing 2-0 but advancing. That was by far the most exhausting game I have ever played in. We were under it for 90 minutes. Playing Brazil in the U-20 WC is up there. My debut for the senior national team, and this year beating the Galaxy at home in the playoffs. Rio Tinto is always loud but the last ten minutes was off the charts.

Reddit user amazingcube: Tony, some RSL fans call you "Slater" due to your resemblance to Mario Lopez (who played AC Slater on the TV show "Saved by the Bell"). Were you aware of this? Also, would you be angry with fans if you heard them shouting for you to "do it for Jesse?"

Beltran: Wow. I have never heard the chant "Do it for Jesse" but that is hilarious. I don't get mad when people make that comparison, I've been getting that and Prince ever since freshman year of high school.

Reddit user EbilSmurfs: I was wondering if you wanted to go out drinking Friday night. If you are interested give me a message, I may even buy your drinks all night.

Beltran: Going to have to pass mate!

Reddit user zarigia: Tony - I remember reading that you performed with Ballet West a few years back. What was the experience like and would you do it again?

Beltran: It was the most stressful experience of my life, but so much fun. I did a full on three minute routine with two ballerinas incorporating juggling a soccer ball and trying to do ballet moves. I had a blast and would do it over again in a heartbeat. Most incredible athletes I have ever worked with.

Reddit user sporkwaffles: Who are some of the young players in the league you're excited to watch develop/grow? (I'd guess Devon Sandoval is one of them?)

Beltran: Sandoval is certainly near the top of the list. It is remarkable that in his first year he has transitioned so well into being a professional. Not only off the field, but in his approach to the game and professionalism. I have no doubt he will succeed. I would also have to say Luis Gil is a TALENT. Sky is the limit for the lad. Outside of RSL, Fagundez from NE is quite fun to watch, Zardes and Yedlin as well.

Reddit user lawyerdup: What has been your most memorable interaction with a fan?

Beltran: I have had numerous memorable interactions with fans. It's quite moving when meeting who people are so enthusiastic about RSL and my play. A year ago I visited a young man in the hospital who was stricken with illness just before his senior year of high school. Getting to know him and following his recovery was very special. He was so passionate about soccer and motivated to get better in order to make it back to play for his high school one more time...

Reddit user Drunken_Economist: If you could pick one non-soccer-related person to be the next RSL coach, who would it be?

Beltran: Wow, great question. I am thinking someone who is a natural leader would be adept as a coach. Knowing the game is huge but also managing and motivating grown men can prove to be a challenge for some. How about Christopher Nolan? He directs/organizes people for a living. His creativity would be limited but that certainly would be interesting to watch!

Reddit user il-re: What's your favorite Pokémon?

Beltran: Probably Gengar. I always thought he was so cool for some reason.

02 December 10:38 am

We’re five days away from MLS Cup 2013 between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park.

Start Cup week off right with our favorite RSL Rewind, taking you back to RSL’s MLS Cup 2009 win over the LA Galaxy in Seattle. Five days, people. Five days.

01 December 6:07 pm

Interesting take from MLSsoccer.com's Greg Lalas on comments that Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey made a couple of months back in Grantland about the stylistic dichotomy between RSL and Kansas City.

We're a bit partial, but we're leaning with Lagerwey on this one. You can keep your high-tempo style, Kansas City. We'll take our brilliant midfield diamond. 

Click here for more on the rivalry between RSL and Sporting Kansas City. The sides will meet in MLS Cup at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday on ESPN at Sporting Park.

27 November 11:56 am

Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey sat down with ABC 4's Dana Greene for nearly 15 minutes yesterday, talking about MLS Cup 2013, RSL's 2013 season, the supposed "rebuild," and how the Claret-and-Cobalt stacks up against MLS Cup foe Sporting Kansas City, both on and off the field. 

ABC 4 was kind enough to post the entire interview to their website last night, after airing this shorter package on Lagerwey's interview on their 6 o'clock newscast. Check out the full-length interview above. 

26 November 9:11 am

Great video from ESPN on the RSL postgame celebration from Sunday's Western Conference Championship win over Portland. Check it out above for the full trophy presentation, along with interviews with Head Coach Jason Kreis, Captain Kyle Beckerman and forward Robbie Findley. 

22 November 2:55 pm

RSL at Portland. Western Conference Championship Leg 2. Sunday night. 7 p.m. MT. ESPN. 

20 November 5:06 pm

Real Salt Lake has been here before.

The Claret-and-Cobalt has taken a two-goal lead into the second leg of a tournament semifinals series once already, in the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals against Costa Rican club Saprissa. RSL topped Saprissa 2-0 in the first leg of the CCL Semis at Rio Tinto Stadium in March 2011, then went down to Alvaro Saborio’s former club for the second leg, losing 1-2 to win 3-2 on aggregate and move on to the CCL Final against Monterrey.

That CCL second leg was played on artificial turf in the incredibly daunting atmosphere at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, affectionately known as The Monster’s Cave. Conditions will be similar for this Sunday’s Western Conference Championship finale at Portland, with RSL again taking a two-goal lead into a second leg, again heading into a very tough atmosphere – the Timbers are 14-1-5 at JELD-WEN Field this year – and again playing on turf.

Let’s hope the Claret-and-Cobalt can advance from this one, too. Kick is at 7:00 p.m. MT on ESPN. 

19 November 11:28 am

CARNAGE.

Real Salt Lake-Portland Timbers. Western Conference Championship. Leg 2. Sunday. 7:00 MT. ESPN.

Hell hath no fury like a stoppage time BECKERBOMB.  

18 November 5:24 pm

KickTV and EA Sports have teamed up for an #UnlockTheMLSCup contest featuring FIFA 14 gamers, MLS super fans and players from each team in the playoffs.

KickTV just dropped its video from RSL's Western Conference Semifinal second leg win over LA earlier Monday. It features RSL midfielder Sebastian Velasquez pretty heavily. Give it a watch above.