Team Profile: Real Salt Lake
Updated: Feb 20
Year founded: 2004.
First season in MLS: 2005.
Stadium: America First Field, Sandy, UT
Honors: MLS Cup (2009).
2023 highlights: the season starts with two away games, at Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders, before RSL hosts Austin FC in their home opener on March 11th. They will make a first visit to Lower.com Field, the home of the Columbus Crew, on April 1st. The first of three meetings with the Colorado Rapids comes at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park on May 20th. The teams meet in Utah on September 2nd, before finishing the season back in Colorado on October 21st. They only have a four-match September when other sides have six games, and three of those are at home. Their final 10 matches are all against Western Conference teams, when games become 'six pointers' during that race for the playoffs. As well as Columbus, Mastroeni's men also have Eastern Conference road trips to Toronto FC and D.C. United.
Head Coach: Pablo Mastroeni.
Players to watch: Jefferson Savarino, Braian Ojeda, Brayan Vera.
Carlos Andrés Gómez (transfer from Millonarios) Tomas Gomez (re-signed) Bertin Jacquesson (Generation adidas)
Moses Nyeman (on loan from SK Beveren)
Ilijah Paul (Generation adidas) Delentz Pierre (homegrown) Luis Rivera (homegrown) Marcelo Silva (re-signed)
Brayan Vera (signed from América de Cali)
Nick Besler (option declined) Sergio Cordova (out of contract) Chris Garcia (option declined) Bret Halsey (option declined) Aaron Herrera (trade to Montréal) Johan Kappelhof (option declined)
Jaziel Orozco (loaned to Santos Laguna) Tate Schmitt (option declined) Bobby Wood (option declined)
2022 summary: RSL sneaked into the postseason on the final day of the regular season with a 3-1 win over Portland Timbers, which ended the Timbers' hopes of making the playoffs. In typical Pablo Mastroeni style, this RSL side do not score many and do not concede many, netting 43 in 2022 while allowing 45. Sergio Cordova was the top scorer, managing nine goals. RSL were leading 2-0 at Austin in the opening round of the playoffs, only to allow the Texas team back into it in stoppage time from the penalty spot. Penalties would eventually decide the contest in Austin's favor. RSL had played with 10 men from the 52nd minute after Rubio Rubin was sent off for a second bookable offense.
Facts and Stats: for only the second time in his 12-season career, goalkeeper Zac MacMath played every minute. MacMath, whose MLS debut was for Philadelphia Union against RSL in 2011, kept 10 clean sheets, which he has only bettered once in his career when posting 12 shutouts in 2013 - the only other season when he was ever present.
Milestones in 2023: RSL is 10 goals away from 800 in the MLS regular season. All things being equal, Pablo Mastroeni should hit the 200 mark as a head coach. He has so far taken charge of 172 in the regular season. He is two away from 50 in charge of RSL. Jefferson Savarino has so far made 95 starts for RSL, across two spells. MacMath is 11 appearances short of 200.