As told to Sam Stejskal:
I’m really enjoying Utah so far. Salt Lake’s a really good city, I can see the sun everyday – or most days – and that’s a lot different than Portland, so I’m definitely enjoying it.
To be honest, I’ve never been in an atmosphere like the one here. If you’re willing to work, the coaches are willing to work with you – they never take a day off. The players are great guys, too. Everyone gives advice, tries to make you a better player and that transfers over to the team performance.
As the people say here, it really is a RSL family. I don’t feel as if it’s a team, it’s a family. Everyone is really friendly, guys hang out outside the locker room and it’s just great. It’s no doubt part of the reason why the team has been so successful over the years because it’s a family, it’s truly close knit.
[RSL Head Scout] Andy Williams and I played together a little bit with the Jamaican national team in 2005 when he was the captain in the Gold Cup. He’s someone I look up to, someone I really respect for what he’s done on and off the pitch.
[RSL midfielder] Khari Stephenson’s a good friend of mine, as well. I’ve known him for years; I hang out with him a lot in the offseason in Jamaica, train with him there and stuff like that.
It’s really nice to have Andy and Khari here with me, but the way the rest of the guys are they make you feel at home, too. Everyone wants to learn about your culture and you try to learn a bit about theirs also. One of the guys I’ve gotten along with really well is Kyle [Beckerman], who’s definitely a bit multicultural and somewhat of an honorary Jamaican.
A lot of people don’t know that I played against Real Salt Lake in 2005 with Harbour View. The game was up at Rice-Eccles, I was the captain for my team and scored the goal in the 1-1 draw.
It’s funny, a couple of my friends back home were talking to me after RSL picked me up and they were telling me that I was destined to come here. I actually have a shirt from that 2005 game, I tweeted a picture of it out, it’s the first RSL jersey, I don’t know whose it was, but it’s great knowing that there’s a little bit of history between myself and RSL.
I was definitely thinking about MLS back in 2005, but I didn’t even think about playing for Real. I was just playing semi-pro in Jamaica, I didn’t think I would be here. But when I got the call this winter that I was picked up by RSL – a team that I always looked up to – I was like, ‘Wow, how great.’
- I’ve haven’t gotten up into the mountains much, but I just went to my first Jazz game with Khari last week. It was a lot of fun, but I’m still waiting for Kyle to take me fishing. That’s something I picked up when I was in Portland and I knew that he likes the outdoors and loves fishing, so I’m still waiting for him to take me.
RSL stands with Boston.
Defender Aaron Maund, Boston-area native:
Heartbroken by what's going on in Boston right now. Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this.
— Aaron Maund (@Imamaundsta) April 15, 2013
Defender Abdoulie Mansally, New England Revolution player from 2007-2012:
My heart and prayers go out to all the victims of Boston City marathon. What a sad day #Prayforboston
— Abdoulie Mansally (@KennyMansally) April 16, 2013
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, college teammate of New England goalie Matt Reis, whose father-in-law was injured in Monday's bombings:
— Nick Rimando (@NickRimando) April 15, 2013
Head Scout Andy Williams, New England Revolution player in 2001 and 2002:
Themarathon bombing was a cowardly act that again shows evil exist in the hearts of the confused & unloved I pray for them #Pray4Boston
— Andy Williams (@bommadog) April 15, 2013
My prayers to everyone everywhere. Imagine going through days like today in the US everyday in other countries. Sad and no one deserves it.
— Kwame Watson-Siriboe (@Kwamekazi) April 15, 2013
Defender Rich Balchan:
The toughest thing for me is to see the big picture through all of this..natural and perpetrated tragedies can happen any second of any day
— Rich Balchan (@RichBalchan) April 16, 2013
Whether today, tomorrow, or several years from now is your last day, life should be lived the same in all...God's purpose-why we even exist
— Rich Balchan (@RichBalchan) April 16, 2013
Forward Robbie Findley:
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4#prayforboston
— Robbie Findley (@RobbieFindley) April 16, 2013
Defender Chris Wingert:
2 explosions in Boston at the Marathon??! Hoping and praying everyone is alright
— Chris Wingert (@wingert17) April 15, 2013
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected in Boston today...
— Devon Sandoval (@Big_Dev49) April 15, 2013
Defender Lovel Palmer:
— Lovel Palmer (@lovelpalmer7) April 15, 2013
— SeBasTian VeLasQueZ (@TiaN_Futbol) April 16, 2013
Goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez:
So sorry about what happened in Boston! My prayers go to all affected #Prayforboston
— Lalo Fernandez (@Lalofernandez_1) April 15, 2013
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella:
Horrible news out of Boston. Thoughts and prayers with everyone involved. These types of stories are happening way too much
— Jeff Attinella (@Jeff_Attinella1) April 15, 2013
Thoughts and prayers with victims and families affected by this horrible act. #staystrong
— jeff cassar (@jeffcassar) April 16, 2013
Forward Olmes Garcia:
Que triste que pasen cosas así como lo sucedió en Boston, Fortaleza para la todas las personas implicada en el echo.
— Olmes Garcia (@Olmesgarcia13) April 16, 2013
Real Salt Lake played Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at BC Place on Saturday.
Here are a few interesting numbers from this weekend’s match:
Real Salt Lake just completed a stretch that saw the team play five of its first seven games on the road. Four of those seven games came against teams that qualified for the 2012 MLC Cup Playoffs, with one against the defending Supporters’ Shield winners San Jose, one against Eastern Conference Finalist D.C. United, one against Western Conference Finalist Seattle and one against Western Conference Wild Card Vancouver.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will play seven of its next 10 MLS matches at home. RSL is unbeaten in the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium so far this year, tying Colorado 1-1 on March 16 and beating Seattle 2-1 on March 30.
Real Salt Lake forward Olmes Garcia scored in the 66th minute on Saturday, curling a 20-yard effort from the left side into the top right corner. The world class finish was Garcia’s first goal in three appearances for RSL since signing a five-year deal with the team in preseason.
Garcia’s goal broke RSL’s 275-minute road scoreless streak. The Claret-and-Cobalt hadn’t scored on the road since Alvaro Saborio found the back of the net in the 85th minute of RSL’s 2-0 season opening win at San Jose on March 3.
If RSL maintains its current averages of 2 points per game at home and 0.8 points per game on the road for the rest of the season, it will finish the season with 47.6 points. While 47.6 points isn’t technically possible – last time we checked, there aren’t any partial points handed out – the rounded-up total of 48 would have comfortably qualified for last year’s Western Conference Playoffs. Should note that we're not trying to get carried away - there's a long, long, long way to go - just having a little fun with numbers.
I could literally watch this all day. Here's to you, Golmes.
The Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday evening to extend their home unbeaten run to 35 games across all competitions. The win moved the Dynamo past RSL and into sole possession of the MLS record for home unbeaten streaks.
RSL's 34-game home unbeaten run across all competitions ran from 2009 to 2011. The Claret-and-Cobalt is still tied with Houston for the home unbeaten record across MLS play at 29 games.
Real Salt Lake is 1-0-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium this year. Head Coach Jason Kreis and the boys will look to extend that home unbeaten streak to three games on Saturday, when they'll take on Western Conference upstart Chivas USA in Sandy.
The Real Salt Lake Reserves dropped their first match of 2013 on Sunday, losing 2-0 at Vancouver to fall to 2-1-1 on the Reserve League season.
The Claret-and-cobalt Reserves return to action on Monday, April 22, when they'll take on USL Pro side Phoenix FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Get your tickets to the April 22 match now.
Check out the highlights to Sunday's game above.
Things didn't go so well for Real Salt Lake last time it played at Vancouver, with the Claret-and-Cobalt losing 2-1 to the 'Caps at BC Place on Aug. 11, 2012.
Check out the highlights of that match above and make sure you tune-in to ABC4 at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday to see if RSL can avenge last year's defeat at Whitecaps FC.
My Dad was a professional goalkeeper in Mexico so I moved around a lot growing up. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to Morelia, Mexico City and Veracruz, really all over the place. When my Dad retired from playing soccer my family moved to El Paso, Texas, his hometown. I was there until I was 15, when I went to Chivas Guadalajara for two years. After that I went to the RSL Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz. for a year and then I went off to Uruguay for six months.
I played for a club called Peñarol in Uruguay. I loved it down there. The Uruguayan people are incredible, they’re really great people and Peñarol is a big team so the atmosphere was great.
After six months in Uruguay I came back to Real Salt Lake. I had been in the academy and I knew the coaches and the team really well already. I really felt comfortable when they brought me in for preseason and I always wanted to be here. It’s nice that I’m closer to my family now and it’s great to be on a team that’s always fighting for MLS Cup.
Even though my Dad was a professional, my parents never pressured me to play soccer. They put me in a bunch of different sports, they put me in karate, they put me in track they put me in a lot of stuff that they thought I would like before they put me in soccer. I always wanted to play, though. I started out being a forward and ended up being a goalie because one of my teammates couldn’t go to one game and I filled in for him. I had the idea because my Dad would always talk to me about goalie and I ended up doing well. I stuck with it and then my Dad started coaching me and that really helped me a lot.
I feel like I’m developing pretty well as a player. Last year was tough; I felt like I was progressing until I broke my wrist in July. Even though that injury kept me from playing goalie, it did help with my foot skills and my strength and fitness. This year I feel a lot stronger and a lot more confident. I feel the group has accepted us young guys more and they’ve given us confidence to show our talents, to show our skills and I really feel like I’m playing better.
I think we have a really unique situation here with our goalies. You’ve got Nick [Rimando] as the starter, he’s a national team player, he’s a leader in our locker room and I learn a lot from him. He talks to me about angles and a bunch of simple stuff that might not seem like that big of a deal, but when you put it into practice it really does make a big difference. Then on the other hand you have Josh [Saunders]. He won the last two MLS Cups for L.A. and he’s different than Nick but he’s really good too. I try to take the best things from both of their games. I’m also always talking with Jeff [Attinella] and working with him after training, too. With help from all three of those guys and of course from [RSL Goalkeeper Coach] Jeff Cassar, I think I’ve really started to develop more and more.
I’m roommates and good friends with [RSL defender] Carlos Salcedo. He and I knew each other from Guadalajara, he’s from there as well and we played together at Chivas. He’s a year younger than me and he’d play in the third division and sometimes I would go down there to get some games and he would be there and we’d always talk. Him being here is a big help for me because I have someone to relate to, someone who knows my culture and really understands where I come from.
I’m also close with a number of other guys on the team like Enzo [Martinez], Seba [Velasquez], David [Viana] and now [Joao] Plata and Olmes [Garcia]. Our relationship here in the locker room and outside the locker room is great; we hang out all the time. Enzo is married and we’re close with his wife. We go to their house all the time and we were there when Enzo’s daughter was born last year. That was a great experience; those are things you will never forget. Now we’re all like a family. They’re all great people and that really helps us all, it makes the group a lot stronger when we’re all comfortable and hopefully we can grow together.
I grew up with [No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and Vancouver forward] Omar Salgado. We played on the same club teams growing up in El Paso and he came to Chivas a few months after I started there. We Skyped earlier this week and I’m excited to hopefully see him this weekend when we play Vancouver. Hopefully we get to play each other in the Reserve Game on Sunday – that’d be really awesome. Growing up we always used to compete against each other, I’d always trash talk him, tell him he was my son because I’m the type of goalie that likes to talk to the forwards to try and get in their minds. He made a big step coming from Guadalajara to MLS and that was part of the reason why I wanted to come here. I saw how much he was progressing here and he was getting a lot better, getting more opportunities and I felt like coming to Salt Lake would help me like going to Vancouver helped him.
- One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’ve played for youth national teams for both Mexico and the U.S. With Mexico I went through the whole qualifying process for the  U-17 World Cup in Nigeria. In the end I didn’t get the call-up to the final team, and that was a little bit disappointing, but that opened up other doors. That’s when the U.S. came to me with a chance to play for the U-20’s in 2010 and I took the opportunity, took a lot of pride in it and it was an awesome experience.
Real Salt Lake lost 1-0 at Rocky Mountain Cup Presented by Mark Miller Subaru rivals the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.
Here are a few interesting numbers from the match:
Real Salt Lake now trails Colorado 4-1 in the 2013 Rocky Mountain Cup point standings. RSL must win the one remaining RMC match on Aug. 3 at Colorado to retain the Cup for a seventh-consecutive year.
RSL forward Alvaro Saborio is now 12-for-13 on penalty kicks in his RSL career. Saborio had a penalty kick stopped by Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin in the 10th minute on Saturday.
Real Salt Lake is 0-4-3 in its last seven regular season matches at Colorado. The Utah side hasn’t won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since Oct. 20, 2007.
By playing 45 minutes on Saturday, Claret-and-Cobalt midfielder Sebastian Velasquez moved to 405 MLS minutes played this season, surpassing the 403 league minutes he played during his rookie season of 2012.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s 90 minutes on Saturday moved him past the 16,000 minute mark in his Claret-and-Cobalt career. Rimando is RSL’s all-time leader in minutes played, more than 2,500 minutes ahead of second-place Kyle Beckerman.
RSL defender Chris Wingert started and played 70 minutes for the RSL Reserves in its 0-0 draw against the Colorado Reserves on Saturday night. It was Wingert’s second time on the field in 2013 – he played 30 minutes off the bench in RSL’s exhibition win over BYU last Monday – after fracturing bones in his right foot during offseason training in December.
The Rocky Mountain Cup: RSL tested, C.J. Brown approved.
The Claret-and-Cobalt take on the Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 5:30 p.m. MT on Saturday. Watch live on NBC Sports Network.