REAL SALT LAKE LEARNS 2011 MLS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
RSL Kicks off March 19 at San Jose Earthquakes;
MLS Slate at Rio Tinto Stadium Begins Week Later vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
SANDY, Utah (Thursday, February 10, 2010) – Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer today unveiled the 2009 MLS Cup champions’ regular season slate for the upcoming 2011 campaign, with Head Coach Jason Kreis’ team potentially juggling an extensive amount of both CONCACAF Champions League and MLS play throughout March and April.
RSL opens 2011 competition in less than two weeks as a participant in the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal action on Tuesday, February 22 at Columbus (6:00 p.m. MT, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel), with the return leg set for the following Tuesday, March 1, at Rio Tinto Stadium (8:00 p.m. MT). The winner of the two-leg series becomes the first-ever MLS side to advance to the CCL Semifinals, and would host the Olimpia (Honduras) / Saprissa (Costa Rica) winner on Tuesday, March 15, the same day the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC kick off the 2011 MLS regular season from Qwest Field in Seattle.
As previously announced, Real Salt Lake will open its MLS regular season slate in the Bay Area for the second consecutive year, taking on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, March 19 in Santa Clara, Calif. RSL’s lone offseason acquisition, M/F Arturo Alvarez, returns to Buck Shaw Stadium for the first time as a member of the Claret-and-Cobalt, no doubt remembering the pair of scintillating Javier Morales goals in RSL’s 3-0 win during MLS First Kick weekend last year.
One week later, RSL welcomes the star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy – the team that finished just three points ahead of last year’s defending Champions in the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield – on Saturday, March 26 in the team’s earliest-ever MLS Home Opener. RSL enters the 2011 season with an MLS record 25-game regular season home unbeaten streak in League play, a stretch that grows to 34 consecutive games without a loss when including CCL, MLS Cup Playoff, and international exhibition matches. Kicking off against David Beckham, MLS scoring phenom Juan Pablo Angel, and the rest of Bruce Arena’s team at 7:00 p.m. MT, the team's "Carnival Real" festivities on the East Lawn (bordering State Street) continue in 2011, opening two hours prior to kickoff on Opening Day and 60 minutes prior to kickoff for most other RSL games.
Should RSL advance in the CONCACAF Champions League, the team could play as many as seven games in all competitions during the month of April. Highlighting MLS action in April is the home leg against defending MLS Cup Champions and Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado Rapids – thought by many to be the most heated rivalry in Major League Soccer – which will be played on Wednesday, April 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium. After conceding the Rocky Mountain Cup to the Denver-based side in 2005 and 2006, Real Salt Lake has held the fan-instituted Cup in each of the last four seasons, with current RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman leading the winning side in each of the six competitions.
On Saturday, April 23, against the second-year Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake kicks off a stretch that sees five out of seven MLS games played at its Sandy home between April 23 and June 4. Since kicking off the 2008 season (Kreis’ first full year on the RSL sideline), the team has posted a dominant 28-2-15 home mark in MLS regular-season play, outscoring visiting MLS opponents 89-28 and posting 22 clean sheets during that three-year stretch. Visitors during this run of contests include former assistant coach Robin Fraser’s new-look Chivas USA side (Sat., May 7), budding rivals Houston Dynamo (Sat., May 14), and Seattle Sounders FC (Sat., May 28), as well as the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Sat., June 4), one of two new sides in MLS this season, along with its Pacific Northwest brethren, the Portland Timbers.
RSL continues June and July firmly entrenched on the Wasatch Front, with six of its next 10 games played at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL will also participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup during these months, as one of six MLS teams to advance directly into the Round of 16, a first for RSL. The summer holidays include one of RSL’s two ESPN2 appearances, welcoming the New England Revolution – which have allowed 11 unanswered goals to RSL in its last two visits to Sandy – on Independence Day, Monday, July 4. Also in the month of July, and for the seventh consecutive season, RSL will again offer post-event fireworks as a continuation of the team’s Pioneer Day tradition, welcoming the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, July 23 (8:00 p.m.). July ends with a Utah visit by the Columbus Crew on Sat., July 30, ending a week that also includes the AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Wed., July 27, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Six RSL players have been named MLS All-Stars in the last two seasons.
In just one stretch – June 25, July 4 and July 9 (Toronto, New England and Dallas) – does RSL host three consecutive MLS home games, the sixth such occasion in team history. Four times throughout the year, RSL hosts back-to-back MLS games at its Rio Tinto Stadium home. All the early-season “home cooking” comes to a crashing halt in August, when RSL is forced to play nine of 12 MLS games (prior to the season finale) away from home between Aug. 3 and Oct. 14, a run that includes a bizarre four-game road stretch over five Saturdays between August 13 and September 10. Once before, RSL did play four consecutive road games in 15 days back in Sept. 2007.
Trips to Major League Soccer’s newest outposts, Portland (Sat., April 30) and Vancouver (Sat., July 16), precede Real Salt Lake’s inaugural voyage to Sporting Kansas City’s highly-acclaimed and much-anticipated new stadium in Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday, August 3.
Saturday nights represent “game night” for the 2011 Real Salt Lake campaign, with 27 of 34 game dates – including 15 of 17 at home – occurring on either weekends or holidays. RSL hosts two non-holiday weeknight home events: the previously mentioned Rocky Mountain Cup opener on Wed., April 13 vs. Colorado and a Wed., Sept. 28 showdown against new assistant coach C.J. Brown’s former side, the Chicago Fire, with the other five weekday games occurring on the road. Also unique for RSL this year is the presence of three “matinee” day games, with the May 7 home match vs. Chivas USA airing live nationally at 2:00 p.m. MT on Univision-owned TeleFutura (not available in Utah), while the July 16 visit to Vancouver and Sept. 10 trip to Seattle will both kick off at 2:00 p.m. MT as well.
Real Salt Lake will face each of its 17 MLS opponents once at home and on the road, the 34-game regular season resulting in the second consecutive truly “balanced” slate in RSL’s seven-year history. While the previous four consecutive seasons have seen RSL end the year with the deciding Rocky Mountain Cup match against Colorado, this year’s second leg vs. the Rapids occurs on the penultimate regular-season weekend, with RSL traveling to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., late in the year for the fourth time in the last five seasons (Fri., Oct. 14, ESPN2). After RSL seeks custody of the Rocky Mountain Cup for a fifth straight season, the Utah side closes out its 2011 regular-season slate in Sandy on Sat., Oct. 22, when Portland and the Timbers Army make their inaugural visit to Rio Tinto Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. kick.
The 2011 MLS season once again, for the fifth consecutive year, places the entirety of its schedule – 306 games across the 18-team League – on either national or regional television. Real Salt Lake's regional broadcast schedule on KUTV 2 (CBS) and KMYU 2.2 (Comcast 22, Dish 12; and DirecTV on or prior to July 1) is currently being finalized and will be unveiled in the near future. The entire MLS schedule, including individual team schedules, is available at www.MLSsoccer.com.
In an unprecedented show of stability, Real Salt Lake will return 23 players from its 2010 roster, a squad unified by an “unfinished business” mantra after setting numerous club and League records during the side’s most successful regular season to date. The absence of a hardware haul from last year’s historic campaign – despite becoming the first-ever MLS team and just the second non-Mexican team to win a CCL group and posting a 19-7-14 overall mark in regular season and Cup competitions – will only make Kreis’ charges more hungry for success in 2011, with the squad believing itself to be in prime position to capture some of the five domestic (Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup & U.S. Open Cup) and international (CONCACAF Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup) trophies in play this calendar year.
The best way to ensure a close look at RSL's seventh MLS season is to become a Real Salt Lake Season Ticket holder. RSL Season Ticket packages for the club's third full season at its new Sandy home, Rio Tinto Stadium, start at just $350, with benefits including:
to RSL's 17 MLS regular season games
and the March 1 CCL Quarterfinal match
vs. Columbus, the first potential
playoff match and one Bonus Match
TBD (CCL semifinal or LHUSOC), for 20 matches in total.
• First opportunity to purchase additional events taking place at Rio Tinto Stadium throughout 2011
• 25% off all merchandise purchased at the RSL Team Store at Rio Tinto Stadium
For more information on tickets for 2011 Real Salt Lake contests at Rio Tinto Stadium, including how to secure RSL Season Tickets and discounts for groups of 20 or more, contact the RSL Front Office at 801-727-2700 or visit www.RealSaltLake.com. Single-game tickets for the entire 2011 Real Salt Lake season go on sale on Monday, February 14.