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International

27 June 10:06 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team have it all to play for on Thursday. 

The U-20's take on Ghana in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Group A finale at 11:00 a.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN. A win would give the U.S. four points in the Group Stage, making them a virtual lock to qualify for the Knockout Stage. A tie and things become a bit muddied, with the U.S. - which would have only two points - needing major help from teams in Group E and Group F to qualify for the Knockout Stage as one of four third-place teams. The U.S. would be eliminated from the tournament with a loss. If you're so inclined, U.S. Soccer has a slightly more detailed breakdown here

Gil has played every minute of the U-20 World Cup so far, scoring a goal in the U.S.'s 4-1 loss against Spain last Friday and setting up the U.S.'s strike in its 1-1 draw against France on Monday. 

27 June 10:06 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team have it all to play for on Thursday. 

The U-20's take on Ghana in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Group A finale at 11:00 a.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN. A win would give the U.S. four points in the Group Stage, making them a virtual lock to qualify for the Knockout Stage. A tie and things become a bit muddied, with the U.S. - which would have only two points - needing major help from teams in Group E and Group F to qualify for the Knockout Stage as one of four third-place teams. The U.S. would be eliminated from the tournament with a loss. If you're so inclined, U.S. Soccer has a slightly more detailed breakdown here

Gil has played every minute of the U-20 World Cup so far, scoring a goal in the U.S.'s 4-1 loss against Spain last Friday and setting up the U.S.'s strike in its 1-1 draw against France on Monday. 

24 June 11:03 am

RSL midfielder Luis Gil started and played 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-1 draw against France in the U-20 World Cup on Monday. 

Gil - who scored a fantastic goal in the Americans' 4-1 loss to Spain on Friday - was active again on Monday, sending in the set piece that led to the U.S.'s 85th minute goal and seeing a penalty kick saved earlier in the second half. The U.S. is now in third-place in Group A, one point ahead of last-place Ghana, which lost to France on Friday and takes on Spain at 11:00 a.m. MT on Monday. The U.S. will take on Ghana in its Group A finale on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. MT on ESPNU and WatchESPN. 

The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four third-place sides in the tournament advance to the competition's Knockout Stage. 

24 June 8:33 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team will look to bounce back from Friday's 4-1 defeat to Spain in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Monday, when they'll take on France at 9 a.m. MT in Istanbul. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes. 

The U.S. currently sits in last in Group A with 0 points, trailing third-place Ghana by one on goal differential. The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four third-place sides in the tournament advance to the competition's Knockout Stage. 

Gil played well against Spain, looking sharp in all areas of the field and curling in a marvelous goal. The 19-year-old Southern California native and his U-20 teammates will wrap up the Group Stage on Thursday, when they take on Ghana at 11 a.m. MT. 

21 June 2:37 pm

He didn't get the result he wanted, but Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil had a great game in the U.S. U-20's 4-1 loss to Spain in their FIFA U-20 World Cup opener on Friday, curling in a fantastic goal in the 77th minute and putting in the best performance of any American in the match. 

Gil looked lively throughout, playing numerous gorgeous through balls, making dangerous on-the-ball runs and keeping his composure for the entire 90 minutes. His goal was an absolute thing of beauty, with the 19-year-old Southern California native curling a 24-yard left-footer past Spain's 'keeper and into the top right corner from just left of center. 

Click here to see some (grainy) footage of Luis's goal. We'll try and update with higher quality video as soon as possible.

Update: Not sure how you could've read this far and missed it, but - just in case - check out Luis's goal up above. It's at the 3:37 mark.

20 June 4:47 pm

If you're anything like me, when things in the soccer world are going well, life just seems to be a little bit better. It's hard not to leave Rio Tinto Stadium with a smile when your team earns three well-deserved points. If it seems like your post-game walk to the car has often been a happy one lately, that's because it has - teams that call Rio Tinto Stadium home have been extraordinarily successful as of late. Consider the following:

  • RSL is on fire in MLS play right now. Since the beginning of May, the Claret-and-Cobalt have collected a league-best 16 points in just 7 matches. Along the way they've found the back of the net a whopping 17 times. At home they've taken 10 of a possible 12 points with a goal differential of +7.
  • While all that MLS action was going down, RSL also managed to find success in U.S. Open Cup play. May/June saw two home contests, both won by RSL, both against lower-division foes, though it wasn't easy as both games went into extra time before Salt Lake could secure the victories. As in MLS play, goals have been plentiful for Real in the USOC as they've managed to score eight times in those two matches, with five of those goals coming in 60 total minutes of extra time played.
  • The weather wasn't all that was hot on Tuesday night as the U.S. Men's National Team continued their torrid run of form in dispatching Honduras 1-0 in the CONCACAF Hexagonal. The U.S. men started their streak of good results on June 2 with a thumping of world soccer power Germany 4-3 in a final tuneup before three straight World Cup Qualifiers. After that they took their show on the road in Jamaica where a dramatic stoppage-time goal by Brad Evans gave the Red, White, and Blue three crucial road points. All eyes then focused on Seattle where the Nats easily handled Panama with perhaps their best showing in the last few years, setting the stage for this week's victory at Rio Tinto. That win was the U.S.'s fourth straight, giving the team all nine possible points in World Cup qualifying in June. With six games down and four to go, the U.S. is now in command of The Hex from the top of the table, two points ahead of Costa Rica and five points clear of Mexico. It's not over until it's over, but thanks to the current hot streak we all got to be a part of, the U.S. is a virtual lock for the 2014 World Cup.

It's interesting to note that the U.S. men and Real Salt Lake have found their recent success by different means. For the U.S. team, their success has come from stability - for the first time in a long time, lineups and player personnel decisions were consistent. For RSL, their success has come from versatility - with the crowded schedule, injuries, and international absences, most of the roster has seen minutes in MLS and/or U.S. Open Cup play. For the U.S. team, their scoring load has been shouldered by Jozy Altidore who has scored in all four of the States' recent wins, while for RSL, their scoring load has been spread far and wide - nine different players have scored since the start of May. This goes to show that what two teams need to be successful are not necessarily the same. It also illustrates the difference between a cluster of three games followed by a long break (where consistency is needed) vs. the constant grind of a nine-month MLS season (where flexibility is needed).

If you've missed out on these red-hot teams in their various competitions, don't fret - both clubs will be back at Rio Tinto shortly.

  • RSL has three MLS home games in the next month, starting this Saturday with Seattle paying a visit. This is a great chance for RSL to continue their strong run in league play while climbing the table and also putting some distance between them and a Western Conference foe.
  • Real will be contesting their U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match at home next Wednesday against Carolina. If you've never given the USOC a chance, this would be a good time to see what it's all about. We've seen two good matches already, but the U.S. Open Cup gets even more compelling starting now as teams realize that they're only a couple of wins away from a CONCACAF Champions League berth. You will see playoff-atmosphere soccer in this one, especially considering the winner hosts a USOC Semifinal against Portland or Dallas.
  • The U.S. men will be back to Rio Tinto on July 13 for a Gold Cup tilt against Cuba. Granted, this won't be the strongest team the U.S. is capable of fielding, but it gives us a look at some up-and-coming players on the national scene. Nothing is for certain but this game could have a couple RSL players featuring prominently while the likes of Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey get a well-deserved vacation. Plus it's still high-level international soccer; if you haven't experienced international soccer, it has a unique vibe to it. Everyone needs to be a part of something like this at least once.

We've been blessed with lots of great soccer - and great teams - at Rio Tinto Stadium recently, and it's not over yet. See you out here!

former RSL beat reporter for multiple outlets, Jeremy Horton is a regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com and helps cover the team for ESPN 700 AM.

17 June 8:35 am

U.S. Men’s National Team Manager Jurgen Klinsmann sure seems like a fan of Salt Lake City.

Klinsmann was very complimentary of SLC and Real Salt Lake on Friday in a U.S. Soccer Q&A ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup Qualifier against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium. Good thing, too: After spending six days in town ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier, Klinsmann and the USMNT will return to Utah in just a few short weeks for its July 13 CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Cuba in Sandy.

Here’s what Klinsmann’s expecting from Tuesday’s sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium crowd:

”Everybody was thrilled to experience Seattle [where the U.S. beat Panama 2-0 on June 11]. Everybody said afterwards, ‘Wow, this was definitely the right decision to go all the way to the Northwest from Jamaica.’ We spent eight hours on the plane, but then we were thrilled because the support was just amazing and we expect the same at Rio Tinto Stadium. We know this is a very passionate crowd, they love soccer here in Salt Lake and what happens with Real Salt Lake similar to the Sounders is just wonderful. It shows how strong MLS has become, how strong soccer has become in this country. It’s more proof of it, and therefore we can’t wait to start that game. I’m sure the fans will carry us through the game, help us to push the envelope, help us keep the energy high and help get these three points that we badly need.”

Check out the entire Q&A here and click here to snag your tickets to the July 13 Gold Cup doubleheader at Rio Tinto Stadium

16 June 11:02 am

U.S. Soccer published a nice video piece on Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium. 

Check it out to get Nick's thoughts on being with the national team, plus some added color from his U.S. teammates Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and Sacha Kljestan. 

14 June 11:56 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil suffered a setback in the U.S. Under-20’s friendly win over Portugal on Friday, starting and coming off in the 40th minute after colliding heads with a Portuguese defender.

Gil joined the U-20’s last week for a training camp in Portugal ahead of the U-20 World Cup in Turkey. The U.S. is drawn into the tournament’s “Group of Death” with Spain, France and Ghana. The Stars-and-Stripes will open the tournament against Spain next Friday. The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top-four third-place teams in the tournament will advance to the Round of 16.

There’s no word yet on the severity of Gil’s injury. We’ll update as soon as we know more.

Update (5:45 p.m. MT on Friday): Sounds like Gil will be alright. According to a U.S. Soccer representative, the 19-year-old midfielder substition was merely precautionary.

31 May 2:24 pm

RSL's Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran, Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio were all named on Friday to preliminary rosters for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup. 

Beckerman, Beltran and Rimando were all named to Jurgen Klinsman's U.S. roster while Saborio was named to Costa Rica's preliminary team. The preliminary rosters will be trimmed down from 35 to to 23 ahead of the tournament's start in July. Managers will be allowed to call up to four players from the preliminary roster that were not initally on the 23-man roster following the tournament's Group Stage. 

Both Saborio and Rimando will go on international duty prior to the Gold Cup, with Saborio leaving on Sunday to join Costa Rica for three World Cup Qualifiers and Rimando meeting up with the U.S. team on June 9 for its June 11 qualifier against Panama in Seattle and its July 18 match against Honduras here at Rio Tinto Stadium. Rimando is one of four 'keepers on the U.S.'s preliminary roster along with Houston's Tally Hall, D.C.'s Bill Hamid and Chicago's Sean Johnson. The RSL backstop figures to play a major role for the Stars-and-Stripes at the Gold Cup. 

Click here for the preliminary rosters for all 12 teams set to compete in the Gold Cup.