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Real Salt Lake is an American soccer team that competes in Major League Soccer, which is the highest level of competition in the United States. The club’s headquarters are in Sandy, Utah, which is a suburb of Salt Lake City. RSL was granted permission to compete in the Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2004 and began competing in this league in 2005, along with another team that had been granted permission to compete in this league. Currently, the club’s home games are held at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Johannesburg. RSL has only won one Major League Soccer Cup thus far, in 2009.
Prior to relocating to Rio Tinto, RSL played its home games at Rice-Eccles Stadium, which is situated on the campus of the University of Utah. From 2005 to 2007, RSL played its home games at Rio Tinto. Pablo Mastroeni is serving as the team’s temporary head coach at the moment. The term Real is derived from a Spanish word that literally translates as ‘royal’ in English.
Generally speaking, the word refers to Spanish teams that have had royal sponsorship from a current Spanish monarch, the most well-known of which being Real Madrid, Real Zaragoza, Real Betis, and Real Sociedad, to name a few examples. Choosing Real was a conscious decision on the part of club owner Dave Checketts, who wanted to develop a brand name that would be recognized for its simplicity, as well as for its affiliation with the world-famous club in Madrid, a goal that the club had been working for.
One of the motivations for adopting Real was the affection that creator Dave Checketts had for Real Madrid during his tenure as general manager of the National Basketball Association (NBA Utah )’s Jazz team during his stint in the NBA. As an added bonus, Checketts found it reassuring that Real Madrid had a basketball squad of their own as well.
Real Salt Lake became the tenth Major League Soccer team when Major League Soccer granted an expansion license to SCP Worldwide, which is led by Dave Checketts, on July 14, 2004. Jason Kreis became the first player in the history of the RSL when he was acquired in a trade from the Texas Burn. The likes of veterans Clint Mathis, Eddie Pope, and Jeff Cunningham were among the famous players that played for RSL during its early years.
Real Salt Lake had a potent offense, led by Cunningham and Kreis up front, who were joined by Panamanian international Luis Tejada, who had just been recruited. They were backed up by experienced players in the midfield and defense, including Chris Klein, Carey Talley, and recently recruited goalie Nick Rimando, who all played crucial roles. Real Madrid and FC Dallas played to a 2–2 tie in their opening match of the 2007 Major League Soccer season.
In their following three games, RSL was outscored by a total of 6–0. Ellinger was sacked and replaced by Kreis, who promptly announced his retirement from the game in a surprise move. General manager Steve Pastorino departed and was eventually replaced by Garth Lagerwey, who took over for Pastorino. The franchise embarked on a large re-construction project that would last the whole of the calendar year. The squad concluded with a terrible 6–15–9 record, which resulted in them missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
RSL was almost unbeatable at home during the 2009 Major League Soccer season, posting a 9–1–5 record at Rio Tinto Stadium, with a record-setting +23 goal difference in the process. It has been since May 2009 that Real Salt Lake has not lost a league game at home. During away games, the club, on the other hand, failed to retain its form. RSL found itself in a tight race for the last two slots in the Major League Soccer playoffs during the closing weeks of the regular season.
A win against Colorado in the last game of the regular season, however, ensured that RSL would qualify for the 2009 Major League Soccer postseason tournament. Despite ending with a losing overall record (11–12–7), the squad was awarded the last slot on the team standings due to a tiebreaker. Real Salt Lake went on to win the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup after beating the Los Angeles Galaxy in the championship game on November 22.
RSL and the Los Angeles Galaxy played to a 1–1 stalemate in overtime, and RSL went on to win the MLS Cup (5–4 on penalties). Robbie Russell converted a penalty kick to win the game. Nick Rimando, the goalkeeper, was awarded the Man of the Match. The win in the 2009 MLS Cup qualifies RSL to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League in the 2010–11 season.
They began the 2016 season by reaching the Quarterfinals of the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League, where they were ousted by eventual runner-up Tigres UANL of Liga MX by a score of 3–1 on aggregate. Real Salt Lake returned to the playoffs in 2016, although they were ousted by the Los Angeles Galaxy once again, this time by a 3–1 scoreline on the road in the Western Conference play-in game, this time in the second round. Former players Javier Morales and Jamison Olave, both long-time club stalwarts, did not have their contract options exercised by the club during the off-season.
Head coach Jeff Cassar was fired from his position by the club on March 20, 2017, after just three games into the 2017 season, the club confirmed. Coach Daryl Shore has been appointed as the club’s temporary head coach for its upcoming matches against the New York Red Bulls and Minnesota United. According to the team’s official website, Mike Petke will take over as head coach after the team’s match against Minnesota United on April 1. Although they had a strong end to the season, the squad came up just one point short of qualifying for the postseason.
After the completion of the new $78 million Training Center and Zion’s Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah, the 2018 season was officially kicked off on March 1. According to the press, the facility provides world-class training facilities for Real Salt Lake and the organization’s other clubs, which include the NWSL’s Utah Royals FC and the men’s second division team Real Monarchs. Furthermore, the team’s youth academy, which has been relocated from Casa Grande, Arizona, is now in one place, providing a more streamlined and organized approach for the acquisition and development of young talent.
Both long-time goalie Nick Rimando and long-time defender Tony Beltran played their last seasons in 2019, and both announced their retirements at the conclusion of the season. Additionally, on August 11, the club announced the firing of head coach Mike Petke, after an altercation between the coach and match officials during the 2019 Leagues Cup championship game. After initially being designated temporary manager for the balance of the season, assistant coach Freddy Juarez was promoted to the position of head coach after the conclusion of the campaign.
Due to the controversy surrounding Hansen’s previous use of racist language in the past, Major League Soccer revealed on August 30, 2020, that he planned to sell his holdings in Real Salt Lake, Utah Royals FC, and Real Monarchs. Because the team was unable to locate a new owner, Major League Soccer stated that they will take over the sales process on January 8.
|Team Name||Real Salt Lake|
|Established In||July 14, 2004|
|Based In||Sandy, Utah|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|Arena/Stadium||Rio Tinto Stadium|
|Head Coach||Pablo Mastroeni|
Real Salt Lake Fanmail Address:
Real Salt Lake
Rio Tinto Stadium
9256 South State Street
Sandy, UT 84070
Real Salt Lake Contact Details
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