Blog

MLS Regular Season

12 September 10:43 am

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.

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.

11 September 8:05 pm

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.

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.

11 September 5:36 pm

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.

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

11 September 12:51 pm

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

05 September 2:37 pm

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. 

04 September 4:28 pm

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. 

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. 

'Nuff said. 

04 September 2:37 pm

I've got some bad news for you, Real Salt Lake fans: Your team doesn't play a Wednesday night fixture tonight. Nor do they play this weekend, or next Wednesday. No, RSL doesn't take the pitch again until next Friday, 10 long days away. For whatever reason, MLS decided to give the Claret-and-Cobalt a break for the upcoming international dates while the rest of MLS plays on. Now I don't like the lack of RSL games either, but as we shall see later, if you're going to have a weeklong break, this is the time for it.

So what's a Real fan to do with no game to watch for the next week? Well, there are plenty of great World Cup qualifiers going on around the world, including those featuring RSL men Abdoulie Mansally (The Gambia), Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica), Nick Rimando (USA), and Kyle Beckerman (USA). Thanks to this break in the schedule, none of these players are going to miss any club matches due to international duty. But there are plenty of MLS clubs that do have games, and many of these games will affect the Supporter's Shield and playoff races that RSL is right in the thick of. So I would suggest that there are still matches worth watching and/or following, and I've got your guide to the ones that most impact RSL below:

Chivas USA at Seattle Sounders (Wednesday 9/4, 8:00 MT, MLS Live)

The Sounders are eight points behind RSL, but thanks to scheduling quirks they have played four fewer games than Salt Lake. That means they have 12 points worth of games in hand, which means any points they drop as they play those extra games would be very helpful to Real's Supporters’ Shield chances. That starts tonight as Chivas USA visits. You may be tempted to think this is a guaranteed three points for the Sounders, but not so fast: They are missing both starting strikers (Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson) to international duty, and midfield stalwart Brad Evans is injured. On top of that, the Goats are playing some decent soccer at the moment, and their striker Erick Torres is one of the hottest players in the league right now. They could snatch a point against a depleted Sounders side.

Chicago Fire at Seattle Sounders (Saturday 9/7, 8:00 MT, NBC Sports Network)

Here we have another Seattle game that may be tougher than you might think. Those internationals will still be away for Seattle while the Fire are unaffected. Mike Magee has scored goals aplenty for Chicago, and Seattle will be playing on three days’ rest. Tune in to see if all those factors conspire to work against the Sounders.

Colorado Rapids at LA Galaxy (Saturday 9/7, 8:30 MT, MLS Live)

The Galaxy are the hottest team in MLS along with RSL, and currently RSL's greatest Supporters’ Shield threat. It would help Real greatly if somebody could slow them down a bit and Colorado has first crack at it. Like Seattle, LA is missing some key pieces due to international duty; Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez, and Landon Donovan will all miss this one. When Donovan missed games earlier in the year, the rest of the Galaxy struggled to score goals and win games. And with Colorado fighting for their playoff lives in the midst of a brutal schedule, the outcome here is definitely not a given.

New York Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo (Sunday 9/8, 3:00 MT, UniMas)

New York sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, but their chances of overtaking Montreal took a hit this week as they learned that midfield wizard Tim Cahill will miss several weeks due to injury. This week they take on the Jekyll-and-Hyde Dynamo, who seem to alternate between jaw-dropping and cringe-worthy soccer each week. Regardless, it's never easy to play in Houston, and it would help RSL if the Dynamo could send New York home with nothing.

Montreal Impact at New England Revolution (Sunday 9/8, 5:30 MT, MLS Live)

Montreal is currently RSL's greatest threat in the East, but they recently got some bad injury news of their own. New Designated Player Hernan Bernardello is out for multiple weeks with an ankle injury which will make it harder for Marco Di Vaio and company to score. In this fixture they travel to take on the upstart Revs who are clinging to the final playoff spot in the East. New England knows three points at home are a must, so look for them to try to keep the Impact on the back foot all night.

So there you have it - even with no Real Salt Lake, there's plenty going on that will be of interest to RSL fans. The Supporters’ Shield race is still murky but it will get much clearer over the next week, so tune in and see how it all unfolds.

04 September 11:39 am

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. 

03 September 4:51 pm

RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis made a very interesting comment toward the end of his press conference following the team's 4-2 home win over the Portland Timbers on Friday.

Asked by RSL Perspective's Denzel Eslinger what he credited the team's seemingly changed, more easy going attitude to, Kreis said that he thought this edition of the Claret-and-Cobalt is "tighter than any team I’ve ever been a part of, any I’ve ever been a part of, playing or coaching. They're fantastically together."  

Check out the 5:50 mark of the above video to see Kreis's full response. 

03 September 2:13 pm

Real Salt Lake again proved their offensive prowess on Friday, getting four goals to down the Portland Timbers 4-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Here are a few interesting numbers from Friday’s match:

4

Friday’s 4-2 win and the team’s 4-0 win over Columbus on Aug. 24 mark the first time in RSL history that the team has scored four or more goals in consecutive regular season matches. The Claret-and-Cobalt has now scored a total of 11 goals in its last three matches, with seven of those goals coming against a usually-stingy Portland side.

10

Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio scored his tenth goal during MLS play on Friday – only his thirteenth appearance of the season.  Saborio’s 0.83 goals per 90 minutes is tops in MLS among players with more than eight games played.

20,252

The Real Salt Lake fan base flexed its muscles once more on Friday, with the capacity crowd of 20,252 marking the fifth sellout at Rio Tinto Stadium this year.

5

By scoring on Friday, RSL midfielder Luis Gil became the sixth Claret-and-Cobalt player to reach the five goal plateau this year. Gil joins Saborio, midfielder Javier Morales, midfielder Ned Grabavoy, forward Robbie Findley and forward Olmes Garcia as the six RSL players who have found the back of the net five or more times during MLS play. RSL only had two players hit the five goal mark in 2012.

14

Friday’s win marked the club’s 14th victory of the season, most in the league.  Real Salt Lake is now one win away from reaching the 15-win, 50-point plateau for a fourth-consecutive year, something that’s never been done in league history. The Utah side is in good position to also set a new franchise record for wins in a season – the record is seventeen, held by the 2012 team.

7

With his bicycle kick goal past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts on Friday, Morales tied his career-high with seven goals on the season. Morales’ seven goals are good for second on the team – he leads RSL with ten assists in MLS play.

52

Real Salt Lake’s four goals in Friday’s match increased its league-leading goal total to 52 goals during the 2013 season.  The L.A. Galaxy are a distant second, having scored 43 goals on the season.

8

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata notched two assists on Friday, giving him a total of eight assists in MLS play, good for fifth in the league. The 21-year-old Ecuadorian finds himself on the assist leaderboard despite only starting in 16 of the club’s 28 games.