Real Salt Lake will play on national television for the third and final time this regular season on Friday, traveling to the Pacific Northwest to take on Seattle Sounders FC at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night on NBC Sports Network.
Oddly enough, Friday’s match is RSL’s second-straight game that will be broadcast nationally, coming on the heels of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 4-2 win over the Portland Timbers on Aug. 30 on NBCSN.
That game – as detailed here – rated very well, drawing approximately 70,000 more viewers than the average MLS match on NBC Sports Network so far this year. The match was a great spectacle for the league and RSL, showcasing the Claret-and-Cobalt’s attractive brand of play in front of an electric, sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Observers around the country took a little bit more notice of RSL following the nationally televised Portland win, praising the team’s solid style, various individual players and Head Coach Jason Kreis.
— Sebastian Salazar (@SebiSalazarCSN) August 31, 2013
Real's name, Barça's game. #RSL
— Keith Hickey (@usarsnl) August 31, 2013
I'm just excited to see Salt Lake on national TV #MLS
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 31, 2013
RSL absolutely rolling, with Gil, Grabavoy and Plata all playing well, supporting their established stars. They will be tough to stop.
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) August 31, 2013
We're all lucky for Javi Morales being able to recover from that kind of serious injury and re-discover his previous level of play.
— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) August 31, 2013
That national notice is good for RSL – it boosts recognition for the club, putting the players and technical staff on the big stage they so richly deserve. It gives guys like Kreis, Nick Rimando, Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio, Tony Beltran and Ned Grabavoy a larger platform for well-earned end-of-season recognition.
The best way for RSL to continue getting that increased recognition is to be on national TV more than three times a season. And the best way for RSL to get on national TV more? Other than continued fantastic results – thanks team, you’re the reason we’re all here – it’s all about you, the fan, tuning-in in droves when the Claret-and-Cobalt are on a national broadcast.
Do your part this Friday. Park yourself on the couch, belly up to the bar or roll over to your buddy’s place and turn that dial to NBC Sports Network – channel 695/34 on Comcast, 220 on DirecTV and 159 on Dish – to watch RSL battle Seattle for Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield supremacy at 8:00 p.m. MT at CenturyLink Field.
Most teams around the league struggle against MLS’s three Cascadian clubs. It’s not hard to see why: Seattle, Portland and Vancouver all have deep pockets, talented rosters, strong support, and play on difficult-to-deal with turf fields.
Of course, most teams around MLS aren’t Real Salt Lake.
The Claret-and-Cobalt has been dominant against the three Cascadian clubs over the last two seasons, posting a 10-2-4 record in all competitions against the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps since the start of 2012. RSL is unbeaten against the three sides so far this year, posting 4-0-2 record through four home games and two road matches against them in all comps.
RSL has also been very solid when playing on the road at Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, currently riding a four-game unbeaten streak in Cascadia. The Claret-and-Cobalt has a combined 2-1-4 road mark at the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps since the start of 2012.
Jason Kreis and Co. will put their solid run against the Cascadian clubs on the line this Friday, when they take on Seattle Sounders FC in a battle of the West’s top two teams at CenturyLink Field. Friday’s match – which has huge implications for both the Supporters’ Shield race and MLS Cup Playoff seeding – will kick off at 8:00 p.m. MT and will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Should RSL earn a fifth-straight result in the Pacific Northwest on Friday, it'll have to do it in front of a huge crowd. Seattle – which usually restricts attendance at CenturyLink Field to a little under 40,000 – has opened up the entire stadium for Friday’s affair, with full capacity reaching upwards of 67,000.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) September 11, 2013
One last note: RSL’s 18 road points this year are tied for tops in the league with Kansas City, while Seattle enters Friday’s match on a team record 12-game regular season unbeaten streak at home.
Something could very well give on Friday. Make sure you tune-in to see it all unfold.
There was some chatter on Wednesday regarding whether or not RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman would be able to play in Friday’s crucial MLS contest at Seattle Sounders FC after going the full 90 for the U.S. in its 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus on Tuesday night.
Beckerman answered that question pretty definitively upon his return to Salt Lake on Wednesday afternoon, indicating to reporters at the Salt Lake City International Airport that’d he’d be ready for Friday’s critical clash at CenturyLink Field.
Beckerman said the turnaround is the same as Wednesday to Saturday, and he should be ready for Friday's game in Seattle.
— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) September 11, 2013
Of course, two Seattle Sounders players took the field for the U.S. with Beckerman on Tuesday night, with Clint Dempsey logging a full 90 and Eddie Johnson scoring a goal before going off with an apparent head injury in the 76th minute.
Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid commented today on the status of Dempsey and Johnson, telling Don Ruiz of the Tacoma News-Tribune and other Seattle media that Johnson’s head bump from Tuesday’s game does not call for a concussion protocol, and that both players are scheduled to train with the Cascadia club on Thursday.
“[Eddie] is fine,” Schmid said. “They both say they feel pretty good, but we’ll see how they feel tomorrow…. I don’t think the [U.S. Soccer trainer] classified it as a concussion. I think they said more right now it’s just a sore next, and Eddie said he felt fine today.”
In other Sounders injury news, reports indicate that Seattle defender/midfielder Brad Evans’ status is up in the air for Friday’s match due to a sprained calf and that midfielder Shalrie Joseph will miss the match due to a sprained knee.
Real Salt Lake will take on Seattle for the third and final time this regular season on Friday, facing off against the Sounders in an absolutely crucial Western Conference battle at 8:00 p.m. MT (NBC Sports Network) at CenturyLink Field.
RSL is 2-0-0 against Seattle so far this year, getting goals from Robbie Findley and Luis Gil to topple the Sounders 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 30 and notching strikes from Kyle Beckerman and Findley to power past the Cascadia side 2-0 at home on June 22.
Check out highlights from both of RSL's 2013 wins over Seattle below:
March 30 - RSL 2-1 Seattle
June 22 - RSL 2-0 Seattle
Another big USMNT game, another good performance from RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman.
Beckerman helped the U.S. clinch its spot in next summer’s World Cup on Tuesday night, playing a very solid full 90 for the U.S. in its 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus.
Sitting just in front of the back four, Beckerman completed 46 of 53 passes, staying calm under often significant pressure to keep the ball moving for the Stars-and-Stripes. He also put in a good shift defensively, staying disciplined with his positioning, intercepting a pair of passes, making three clearances and recovering six balls.
Beckerman’s performance earned some praise from all corners, with teammate Landon Donovan calling his performance “great” in a postgame interview with ESPN and various media types giving him love on Twitter.
I watched the game from the south end of the stadium, so take this as you will, but Kyle Beckerman was the best US player on the field.
— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) September 11, 2013
I was serious. Where are the Kyle Beckerman apologies from y'all. The tweets are in the library of congress, folks.
— Neil W. Blackmon (@nwb_USMNT) September 11, 2013
Two players who did their Brazil chances a world of good tonight: Omar Gonzalez and Kyle Beckerman.
— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) September 11, 2013
Beckerman and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando – who was on the bench on Tuesday night – will both return to Salt Lake City on Wednesday. They’ll both be available for Friday’s huge Western Conference battle at Seattle, which will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
As we mentioned yesterday, Beckerman has had some success against Mexico, turning in a stellar full 90 in the U.S.'s historic 1-0 win at Mexico on Aug. 15, 2012. Check out a recap of Kyle's performance in that game here, and watch the highlights of the groundbreaking victory - the U.S.'s first and only over El Tri in Mexico - above.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman could be in line for a start for the U.S. national team in its World Cup Qualifier against Mexico on Tuesday night.
With center midfielders Michael Bradley (injury) and Geoff Cameron (yellow card suspension) out for Tuesday’s qualifier in Columbus, Beckerman – who dressed but did not play in the U.S.’s 3-1 loss at Costa Rica on Friday – could very well get slotted into the middle of the park for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.
Beckerman has had some success against Mexico, turning in a gem of a performance in the U.S.’s 1-0 win at El Tri on Aug. 15, 2012 – the first and only time the Americans have beaten Mexico south of the border.
Other candidates to start alongside likely lock Jermaine Jones in the central midfield for the Stars-and-Stripes include Mix Diskerud and late call-ins Jose Torres and Joe Corona.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando is also on the U.S. roster for Tuesday’s match, which will kick off at 6:00 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPN. The U.S. can clinch a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with a win over Mexico and a Panama loss/draw at Honduras.
Real Salt Lake rookie forward Devon Sandoval participated in MLSsoccer.com's #SuperDraftReunion Google+ hangout on Thursday, joining rookie New England defender Andrew Farrell and first-year Colorado midfielder Dillon Powers and forward DeShorn Brown in a video chat hosted by Josh Whisenhunt.
Check out the entire hangout above.
Looks like that whole quality over big market idea has some merit.
Here's a tweet from Sports Business Journal's Media Reporter John Ourand regarding ratings for Friday's RSL-Portland match and Saturday's New York-D.C. game, both of which were televised on the NBC Sports Network.
MLS on TV: NBCSN's Portland-Real Salt Lake drew 171K on Friday night. NBCSN's DC United-Red Bulls averaged 67K on Saturday night.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 4, 2013
Of the 19 teams in MLS, Salt Lake is the 19th biggest media market; Portland is 16th; D.C. is ninth; New York is first.
We’re a little bit notorious around the league for railing about RSL’s lack of national TV games.
One of our favorite topics, the Claret-and-Cobalt’s dearth of nationally broadcast matches – the team has just three this regular season – was brought to the forefront again last week when Portland came to town for RSL’s only home national TV game of 2013.
Players and coaches were asked about the lack of national exposure for RSL in the build up to Friday’s game, with defender Nat Borchers giving the money quote, calling it a “joke” that the Claret-and-Cobalt isn’t on national TV more.
Of course, RSL put on quite the show for the NBC Sports Network on Friday, slamming the Timbers 4-2 in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd of 20,252 at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was a great spectacle for the league – and a great advertisement to put RSL on the national airwaves more often.
Unsurprisingly, observers around the country picked up on the high quality on the field and in the stands from Friday’s match, with some now calling for RSL to be put on national TV more.
Best Soccer Show host Jared DuBois – give him a follow @jrodius – had plenty to say on the subject on Tuesday’s edition of ESPN 700’s OnFrame, going on for about four minutes when asked about the subject. Part of his quote is below – click here to listen to Jared’s entire interview.
“I think when we talk about viewership and tuning in and ratings and everything like that, we need to get out of just the numbers aspect and start looking at the quality aspect,” he said. “What do you actually gain when you have a Chicago vs. Colorado match on national TV? Not much. I’m sorry, but not much. I’d much rather see the quality teams than the big market teams. And maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m naïve, I don’t work in that industry, but from a peripheral view this is a fan telling you I don’t even tune in if it’s not a quality product on the field. You guys have that at RSL, and you guys have every reason to be aggrieved by [the lack of national TV games]. I’ll be honest with you, watching that Portland game last week, RSL-Portland, I’m watching that game and RSL has a chip on their shoulder. They’ve got something to prove, not just to the other teams in the league, but to the league itself. They said, ‘Listen, put us on.’ That result I saw was Eddie Johnson saying pay me. It’s RSL’s team saying ‘Pay me, put us on TV and this is what you get.’”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. Time to pay up.
RSL will be on national TV once more this regular season, taking on the Seattle Sounders on NBC Sports Network at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 13.