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20 June 12:10 pm

Remember the last time Real Salt Lake played Seattle? Yeah, that was fun. Let's do it again on Saturday. 

20 June 8:16 am

Fan voting for this summer's MLS All-Star Game began on June 10. On Thursday, a new element was added: The Twitter vote. 

How does the Twitter vote work? Here's all you need to know: 

  • Votiing is open from 10 a.m. MT on Thursday until 9:59 p.m. MT on Friday. It's a short window, so vote for your favorite RSL players early and often.
  • An eligible vote consists of the hashtag #MLSAllStar

    • AND the player's full name (first and last required) with or without a space.

      • Example: Kyle Beckerman or KyleBeckerman
    •  OR their Twitter handle

  • Fans may vote for multiple players in a tweet; however fans may not vote for a single player multiple times within one tweet.
  • Fans may only vote for players on the All-Star ballot

    • The six RSL players on the ballot are: Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Javier Morales, Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio. Click here to see the full ballot.
  • There is no limit to the number of tweet votes fans can submit for any one player. Like we said, vote early and vote often. 
  • Each Twitter vote counts equal to one text vote or one online vote. 

Don't have Twitter? No, worries. Click here to fill out the standard online ballot. Vote RSL!

19 June 2:00 pm

Really cool video from RSL-Arizona Academy U-18 player Trevor Hyman, who used a GoPro camera to take us inside life at Grande Sports Academy. 

Hyman filmed his journey to Casa Grande from his home in Southern California, a few RSL-AZ training sessions and some footage from the roof of the Academy dorm. It's a really great look at life at the RSL-AZ Academy - definitely worth a watch. 

Hyman and the RSL-AZ U-18's will begin their run in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Playoffs next Monday in Dallas. The Claret-and-Cobalt enter the playoffs as the top seed in their group, which includes St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri, CASL Chelsea FC Academy and D.C. United. Each playoff team has a chance to qualify for USSDA's Finals Week, which will be held from July 14-20 in Houston. 

Hyman will join Stanford University's soccer team this fall. Give him a follow on Twitter @trevorhyman8.

17 June 7:35 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 10:02 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 10:56 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.

14 June 9:35 am

Lower-league opponents in the U.S. are nearly always a tricky bag, and Charleston Battery further exemplified this rule. Compact, decisive, and quick, the Battery gave everyone a good scare when they scored the first two goals of the match. The question, then: How did Real Salt Lake adjust for their comeback?

Everyone got better. This is easy to say and hard to do, and it doesn't say much of anything from a tactical perspective. That said, it's difficult to execute any tactical decisions when you're looking at the worst you've been in some time. Everybody stepped up their quality in the second half.

A center back was removed. With the impetus on Real Salt Lake to get back into the affair, and with the Battery quite rightly sitting very deep and hoping to fend off an undoubtedly inevitable onslaught, two defenders almost seemed extraneous. Making his first club appearance — an admittedly poor one at that — Aaron Maund stepped off shortly into the second half and Jason Kreis switched the formation.

It took a quintessential attacking 3-4-3 to really break down the Battery defense. Joao Plata and Robbie Findley occupied the attacking flanks, with Devon Sandoval serving as a target man and grabbing two headed goals along the way. Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy served as the more-attacking midfielders (they really did all attack) and Khari Stephenson and Kyle Beckerman sat deeper and more centrally. Chris Wingert tucked in slightly centrally to position himself better for runs down the middle, and Tony Beltran bombed forward from right back to stretch play.

We stretched play superbly. When we face a hyper-defensive side — and again, there's not an ounce of blame in that for Charleston in their strategy — we have historically struggled to break them down. With Findley and Plata wide to stretch play laterally and Devon Sandoval to stretch along the vertical axis, it became difficult for Charleston to ignore any of those three players up top. Given their proclivity for staying in central positions, this opened room for Plata and Findley to receive clever passes from the midfield and cut inside. Even when they weren't involved in goalscoring movement like that, both players were important to the fightback.

regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com, Matt Montgomery runs the SB Nation blog RSL Soapbox. Follow Matt on Twitter @TheCrossbarRSL

13 June 2:59 pm

RSL-Arizona Academy PR ace Garrett Cleverly will provide us with periodic updates from the Casa Grande Academy. Garrett's latest update is below - Follow him and the Grande Sports Academy on Twitter and check the Grande Sports Academy blogFacebook page and Instagram for all the latest info on RSL's youth development program.

13 June 1:26 pm

Real Salt Lake advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals on Wednesday night, scoring five unanswered goals to beat the Charleston Battery 5-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium in the tournament's fourth-round.

Here are a few interesting numbers from the match:

4

Wednesday’s offensive output of five goals marked the fourth-straight match across all competitions that saw RSL score at least three goals. The Claret-and-Cobalt has now scored three or more goals in five of its last six matches across all competitions dating back to May 19.

25

RSL has now scored 25 goals in its last nine matches across all competitions. That’s good for 2.78 goals per game. That’s absurd.

7-1-1

Real Salt Lake is now 7-1-1 in its last nine games across all competitions dating back to the team’s 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 4. The Claret-and-Cobalt has scored multiple goals in eight of those nine games and outscored its opponents 25-11 during that span.

3

Real Salt Lake forward Devon Sandoval – who scored two goals on Wednesday night – now has three Open Cup goals in just two career games in the tournament. The rookie second-rounder is tied for the all-time RSL lead in Open Cup goals with Head Coach Jason Kreis, Head Scout Andy Williams and Captain Kyle Beckerman.

June 26

RSL will return to the Open Cup on Wednesday, June 26, when it will host the NASL Carolina RailHawks in the tournament’s Quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. This is just the third-time in Claret-and-Cobalt history that the team has advanced to the Open Cup Quarters – RSL lost at this stage in the 2006 and 2011 tournament. Tickets to the June 26 game against Carolina – which are not included in the RSL Season Ticket Package – are for sale at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online or over the phone at 801-727-2700. 

12 June 9:09 am

Real Salt Lake's continued run in the US Open Cup presents its own tactical problems, from the need for rotation to questions about how both the defense and attack will deal with a certain-to-be-resolute Charleston Battery defense.

Rotation

There are two well-balanced opinions that play into a match like this: In one, the impetus on Kreis should be about rotation and ensuring squad fitness; in the other, the impetus is the opposite, and he should roll out a squad best-fitted to win. The point of balance lies somewhere between the two, but with a weekend off for once, it's difficult to argue if veterans play all 90 (and hopefully a positive 90 and not a negative 90 or a nail-biting 120) against Charleston Battery.

But some rotation will happen naturally. Sebastian Velasquez is a sure-starter in the midfield, and he may just take the place of Luis Gil with no other general changes to the setup. Devon Sandoval might get another chance to start up top after a fine performance in the last round of the Cup. Carlos Salcedo and Kwame Watson-Siriboe, too, may get another chance to partner, allowing Nat Borchers a rest.

Push and Pull

Real Salt Lake has been incredibly successful in moments of transition this season (when, of course, the transition if rom defense to attack) and one might attribute a number of our goals to that fact. But this becomes difficult to manage effectively when the opposition plays withdrawn, and our mode of scoring has to shift. With a tricky midfielder or two — Velasquez and the ever-effective Javier Morales — Charleston's midfield and defense will be kept busy; this leaves important spaces for forwards to run into.

Devon Sandoval could be incredibly effective against this level of side, as well. He's still adjusting to MLS play (though remarkably well, it must be said) but he has a golden opportunity to get in the heads of the Battery defense. With midfield runs occupying some attention, the remainder might be shifted to him, leaving a free forward. His uncanny ability to retain the ball and make a safe if unexciting pass can sometimes be an effect of tentative play, but it's this sort of passing and movement that will have the biggest impact on a less-able defense. He'll push and pull defenders out of position — it's important that he makes the right decisions in that regard.

Focus

How many times have we conceded an unnecessary goal at some point in the match simply because it looked like our collective minds were elsewhere? We saw it in the last round of the Open Cup: We can't go around conceding cheap goals and risking a loss or even another overtime excursion. With bodies bursting forward in efforts to score and unlock what may be a staunch defense, the match becomes more difficult to manage.

It'll be vital that, when everyone is forward, the three or so defenders that have stayed back are in good positions to recover and can communicate danger to their teammates. Otherwise, we may be looking at another match where we're on the cusp of something great, but mistakes see us caught out.

regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com, Matt Montgomery runs the SB Nation blog RSL Soapbox. Follow Matt on Twitter @TheCrossbarRSL