Real Salt Lake
The latest episode of the Emmy-nominated MLS Insider Series takes a look at Real Salt Lake’s own Joao Plata. The excellent in-depth video explores Plata’s humble beginnings in Ecuador, his difficult transition to MLS with Toronto FC and his evolution into one of the most dangerous attackers in the league with Real Salt Lake. The speedy Ecuadorian has been indispensable for RSL this season, leading the Claret-and-Cobalt with 13 goals as the club is poised to clinch a seventh-straight playoff berth – the longest active streak in the league.
Check out the must-watch episode above.
Real Salt Lake will host 2014 USL PRO Champions Sacramento Republic FC tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT. The exhibition match will be streamed live on RealSaltLake.com with Bill Riley and Brian Dunseth with the call.
In anticipation of tonight's match, check out the highlights above from Sacramento’s 2-0 win over Harrisburg City Islanders last weekend that gave them the USL PRO Championship in the club’s inaugural season. The team is coached by MLS two-time scoring champion and former Chivas USA and Toronto FC head coach, Preki Radosavljević. The club’s roster also includes former Real Salt Lake forward Justin Braun.
Real Salt Lake will look clinch a playoff berth on Saturday, when it takes on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 5:00 p.m. MT at BC Place on CW30.
The last time Real Salt Lake and the ‘Caps met in Vancouver, the Claret-and-Cobalt recorded its first-ever win at BC Place, a 1-0 victory on Sept. 28, 2013. The match saw a strong performance from a makeshift lineup with then-rookie forward Devon Sandoval notching the lone goal in the ninth minute. The win last year improved Real Salt Lake’s all-time road record in Vancouver to 1-2-1.
RSL and the Cascadia club have met twice before this year, with both matches ending in draws. In their first meeting of 2014 on April 26, the sides played to a wild 2-2 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium. The two clubs met again in Utah a few months later, playing to a 1-1 draw on July 19.
In anticipation of Saturday’s clash north of the border, check out the Sept. 28, 2013 match highlights above.
MLSsoccer.com released its annual “24 Under 24” list earlier today. Three Real Salt Lake players were named as some of the league’s top young prospects with forward Joao Plata earning seventh place, midfielder Luis Gil right behind in eighth and forward Olmes Garcia placing 21st. You can check out each player’s highlight videos and individual profiles below.
Think Plata should have placed higher? Did DeAndre Yedlin deserve the #1 spot? Share your thoughts on Twitter using the #24under24 hashtag.
RSL looks to clinch a playoff berth in Vancouver
Real Salt Lake will be able to clinch a playoff berth with a win or a draw on Saturday in Vancouver. If the Claret-and-Cobalt accomplish the feat, it will have qualified for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season – the longest active streak in MLS.
Success hard to come by at BC Place
Real Salt Lake has had mixed results in Vancouver, posting a 1-2-1 road record at BC Place. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s first win in the Canadian city came last year, a 1-0 win on Sept. 28, 2013. RSL was able to pull off the win with a makeshift lineup and a lone goal scored by forward Devon Sandoval. RSL’s visit to Vancouver on Saturday will be the club’s first since the win last fall. Real Salt Lake has had a better all-time record against the ‘Caps, going 4-2-4 against the Cascadia Club. The Claret-and-Cobalt will also be facing a club on Saturday that is desperate for three points in order to stay alive in the playoff race. Vancouver will be looking to make the most of its home field advantage, so BC Place could be even more daunting for RSL on Saturday.
Can RSL make a run for Supporters’ Shield?
With just five games remaining in the regular season for the Utah club and just nine points separating the top six teams in the league, RSL will have to rack up the points if it wants to make a run for the Supporters’ Shield. Grabbing three points at Vancouver on Saturday will be critical for its chances to gain ground on Seattle Sounders FC and LA Galaxy who both sit above RSL with 54 points. Compared to the teams at the top of the table, Real Salt Lake has one of the easier stretches to end the season on paper. After facing a struggling Vancouver, RSL faces bottom-dwellers Chivas USA twice, along with San Jose Earthquakes who are in eighth place in the west and Portland Timbers who currently sit just above the red line with 39 points. Seattle finishes the season with clashes with Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Vancouver and then back-to-back games with LA Galaxy. The Galaxy also faces some stiff competition before taking on the Sounders, with matchups against New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and FC Dallas. If RSL can get a result at Vancouver on Saturday and close out the end of the season with wins, the Claret-and-Cobalt could have a good chance to snatch the Supporters’ Shield.
Real Salt Lake dominates MLSsoccer.com’s Plays of the Night segment this week, with three plays from its 5-1 thrashing of Colorado Rapids last Friday. Claret-and-Cobalt midfielder Luke Mulholland earned the 10th spot on the countdown with his nifty move around Colorado’s Jose Mari in the 54th minute. Real Salt Lake then dukes it out for the number one play of the night…with itself. MLSsoccer.com was torn between the buildup play for both RSL forward Joao Plata’s equalizer in the 32nd minute and the Colorado own goal in the 45th minute. With the two plays too hard to choose between, the fantastic combination play between Ned Grabavoy and Plata leading to the Ecuadorian’s 13th goal of the year, and the great dummy by Javier Morales and one-touch pass into the box from Sebastian Jaime that leads to the own goal, share the number one honor.
Check out the stunning plays in the video above.
In the wake of Real Salt Lake’s disappointing stoppage-time loss at Seattle Sounders FC last Friday, the fantastic buildup play that led to Javier Morales’ opening goal got a little lost. The lead up to the 30th minute goal was fantastic, with RSL putting together 16 passes to find the Argentine open in the box, who then put away his eighth goal of the year. The pass sequence continues to show why RSL is considered one of the best possession-based teams in the league and just how methodical the Claret-and-Cobalt can be when behind the ball. Unfortunately, the night did not end well for the visitors, but RSL will have the chance to bounce back this Friday, when it hosts a struggling Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium (8:00 p.m. MT, CW30) Check out the great sequence above.
MLSsoccer.com has a new poll out asking whether or not Real Salt Lake's Chris Schuler will be the newest defender to break out on the U.S. Men's National Team. Since coming back from injury last fall, Schuler has been steadfast for the Claret-and-Cobalt, helping lead the club to MLS Cup in 2013 and starting 23 games so far this season.
RSL TV analyst Brian Dunseth made the case for Schuler in last Friday's nationally broadcast match at Seattle saying, "It's been an injury-filled couple of years. He never really got past 16 games played in a season. Right now, tonight is his 23rd game. He's stayed fit and focused and in my opinion he is a guy who should be called up to the U.S. Men's National Team in January."
So MLS asks, will Schuler be the next Besler? Or will it be one of the other up-and-comers getting a shot with Jurgen Klinsmann's national team?
You can answer MLSsoccer.com's question HERE