Real Salt Lake won’t have an easy start to the Jeff Cassar era, with the Claret-and-Cobalt scheduled to open its 2014 MLS regular season campaign with a brutal slate of matches.
RSL will play four of its first six matches on the road, traveling to LA for Saturday’s season opener, taking on San Jose at the always unfriendly Buck Shaw Stadium on March 15, playing at defending MLS Cup champion Sporting KC on April 6 and traveling across the country to take on Philadelphia on April 12.
RSL’s early season home games won’t be a cakewalk either, with the Claret-and-Cobalt hosting the Galaxy in the home opener on March 22, taking on Michael Bradley and revamped Toronto FC on March 29 and welcoming 2013 Western Conference Final opponent Portland Timbers to Rio Tinto Stadium on April 19.
The average 2013 point total for RSL’s first seven opponents comes out to 49.57 points, the seventh-highest mark in the league across the first seven matches. That average, however, is skewed somewhat by the inclusion of Toronto FC, which had just 29 points last year – third-fewest in the league – but is projected for far more than that in 2014 after adding Bradley, DP’s Jermain Defoe and Gilberto and Brazilian national team goalkeeper Julio Cesar this offseason.
In fact, only one of the six teams ahead of RSL in this category – Colorado, which clocks in at fourth in the league at 50.57 – also have Toronto on their schedule in their first seven games. None of the teams ahead of RSL have Chivas USA or D.C. United on tap for their first seven games; Chivas and D.C. were the only teams to finish below Toronto in the standings last year.
All of this means that we’ll need to keep our expectations in check for the start of the season. RSL has a very tough opening schedule, and it’ll be incredibly difficult to get off to a flying start. A tough beginning shouldn’t be much cause for concern however – RSL was 2-3-2 after seven games in 2013, and managed to put in a decent season.
In honor of Real Salt Lake opening its 10th season this Saturday at LA, The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday opened voting on three polls concerning RSL history. Fans can vote on RSL’s all-time starting XI, rank the team’s top-10 moments and rank the top-10 goals in franchise history.
Click here to vote in the polls. The Tribune will post the results in an online presentation ahead of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s March 22 home opener against the Galaxy.
Exciting news, Real Salt Lake fans: RSL GM Garth Lagerwey will be holding a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” on /r/MLS next Thursday at 1 p.m. MT, ahead of the Claret-and-Cobalt's MLS season opener at LA next Saturday.
Those participating in the AMA will be able to ask Garth any question they’d like in real time. He’ll answer as many as he can get to. Make sure that someone asks Garth about the above hairstyle. Thing’s wilder than anything Sebastian Velasquez has ever even dreamed of doing.
The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17 team finished first in Central Region qualifying for the 2013-14 Generation adidas Cup with a 4-1-0 record. The Generation adidas Cup is Major League Soccer’s annual elite youth tournament for U-17 academy teams. The Claret-and-Cobalt will now compete in a national event in April alongside other academy and international teams.
Here are a few interesting numbers from the five Generation adidas Cup qualifying matches.
Total number of goals scored by the RSL Academy team, which was the highest number of goals scored in Generation adidas Cup qualifying. FC Dallas was second with a total of nine goals.
The number of different players that scored for the Claret-and-Cobalt. RSL saw goals from FW Sebastian Saucedo, M/F Josh Doughty, M/F Diego Silva, FW Brooks Lennon, MF Terrell Lowe, MF Evan Waldrep, MF Tate Schmitt, D/F Miles Stray, FW Kris Fourcand and MF Tyler Feeley.
RSL notched the two highest goal scoring performances in Generation adidas Cup qualifying. Seven goals were scored against FC Dallas on February 14th and five were scored against Sporting Kansas City on October 14th.
The number of consecutive matches in which FW Sebastian Saucedo found the back of the net.
The Claret-and-Cobalt’s total goal differential, which was the highest in Generation adidas Cup qualifying.
In the latest sign that the season is just around the corner, the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) released on Tuesday the referee assignments for MLS’s opening weekend.
Real Salt Lake drew Silviu Petrescu for its March 8 opener at LA. Petrescu is an experienced official who was named the 2012 MLS Referee of the Year. He was the man in the middle for several RSL games in 2013, most notably officiating RSL’s 4-3 loss at New York on July 27. Petrescu was very quick to the whistle in that match, calling an astounding 46 total fouls – including a season-high 28 on RSL – and showing seven yellow cards.
Rounding out Petrescu’s March 8 crew are linesmen Daniel Belleau and Phil Briere and fourth official Mathieu Bourdeau.
TUCSON – After taking the day off on Sunday, Real Salt Lake got back to work on Monday, hitting the training fields for another practice session ahead of Wednesday’s Desert Diamond Cup match against FC Tucson.
Monday’s training officially marked the start of the final week of preseason training for the Claret-and-Cobalt, which will return to Utah on Sunday and train in Sandy next week ahead of the March 8 opener at LA. RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar is looking for a few things from the last week of preseason camp, with full match fitness topping the list.
No RSL player has gone 90 minutes yet in the Desert Diamond Cup, with Cassar playing the starters 60 minutes and making mass substitutions at the hour mark in both of the first two DDC games. Expect that to change in the final two games in Tucson.
“In these last two games we’re looking to get closer to 90 minutes for everybody in each game,” Cassar said. “It’s time to start to gear up towards what our lineup will look like against LA.”
RSL will return to action on Wednesday, when the team will take on USL-Premier Development League side FC Tucson at 6:00 p.m. MT in the final group game of the Desert Diamond Cup. Wednesday’s game will be streamed live here on RealSaltLake.com and MLSsoccer.com.
TUCSON – Real Salt Lake on Friday returned to the training field for the first time since Wednesday’s scoreless draw against New England, putting in a two hour training session ahead of Saturday’s FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup match against the Colorado Rapids.
Saturday’s match will be streamed live here on RealSaltLake.com, under the “Match Streams” page in Preseason Central. It will be the first stream of the preseason for the Claret-and-Cobalt, which has a 0-1-3 record so far this preseason.
RSL enters Saturday’s match in a four-way tie for second in the DDC standings with one point. Colorado is in sixth – and last – place in the tournament after losing their opener 2-1 against Chicago on Wednesday. RSL will finish Desert Diamond Cup group play next Wednesday, when they’ll take on USL-Premier Development League side FC Tucson at 6:00 p.m. MT.
The Desert Diamond Cup will conclude next Saturday, with the Championship and Consolation matches. The DDC round-robin stage winner will take on Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara in the tournament final at 6:00 p.m. MT on Saturday, while the second- and third-place and the fourth- and fifth-place MLS teams will face off earlier in the day.
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman is currently in New York City as a part of MLS's annual media and marketing tour, making the rounds at a variety of media outlets with other notable players from around the league ahead of the season opening on March 8.
Kyle stopped by Fox Sports 1 earlier on Tuesday, appearing with LA's Omar Gonzalez and Kansas City's Matt Besler on Crowd Goes Wild. Kyle talked a bit about his personal life, changes he's seen in his 15 years in MLS and the U.S. national team's chances at this summer's World Cup. Give the entire segment a watch above.
Real Salt Lake put in its second full training session today in Tucson in RSL’s final preseason camp before the start of the 2014 MLS regular season. The Claret-and-Cobalt welcomed back forward Alvaro Saborio who was absent from yesterday’s session due to an MLS media tour. The squad looked energetic and focused today as Head Coach Jeff Cassar ran 11v11 scrimmages and emphasized tactical awareness.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake won the Generation Adidas Cup Central Region on Monday, with the Claret-and-Cobalt U-17’s defeating the Houston Dynamo U-17’s 4-1 at Grande Sports World in the final match of group play to qualify for the GA Cup’s final stage.
Monday’s win advanced the RSL U-17’s to the final stage of the GA Cup, which will take place in April. The RSL U-17’s will be pitted against two other MLS U-17 teams and a group of international teams in the final stage of the GA Cup.
RSL posted a 4-1-0 record in five GA Cup Central Region group stage matches, finishing atop the group that also featured U-17 squads from the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City. The Claret-and-Cobalt outscored its opposition 21-7 in the group stage.
RSL got goals from four different players in the win over Houston on Monday. The Claret-and-Cobalt jumped out to an impressive start, with Josh Doughty tapping in a Sebastian Saucedo cross in the 11th minute to give RSL the lead.
RSL doubled their lead in the 50th minute, when Saucedo curled in a low free kick that hit the post and bounced in for his fourth goal in three matches. Doughty notched his fourth assist in three matches when he played to Kris “Haiti” Fourcand in the 72nd-minute. Fourcand then shifted to his right, dribbled into the box and scored RSL’s third goal.
RSL’s backline of: Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Miles Stray and Gavino Carranza along with central midfielder Danny Acosta held the Dynamo attack to a few shots and recorded their first shutout in GA Cup play.