TUCSON, Ariz. – Wednesday night’s FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup match between Real Salt Lake and New York will be a reunion of sorts, with the Claret-and-Cobalt facing off against former RSL players Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave for the first time since the pair were traded to the Red Bulls in December.
Espindola and Olave were RSL cornerstones, both playing a big role in the Utah side’s ascension from league doormat to MLS power. Espindola initially signed with Real Salt Lake in August 2007, scoring 35 goals – second in team history – and adding 17 assists in 125 career regular season games with RSL. Olave joined the Claret-and-Cobalt in February 2008, winning the 2010 MLS Defender of the Year Award and earning spots on the 2010 MLS Best XI and 2010 and 2011 MLS All-Star teams.
Seeing the pair in New York uniforms will be a strange sight for RSL.
“It’ll definitely be weird seeing those guys in different colors,” RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said Wednesday. “We had a lot of good times with those guys, a lot of wins and they’re a big part of what we built here. We’ll definitely miss them but it’ll be good to get on the field with them, joke around with them and then try to kick their butts.”
“It’s going to be strange,” added defender Nat Borchers, who paired Olave in the middle of RSL’s defense for years. “We shared a locker room with those guys for five years and we got very close in those five years, so seeing them on another team is going to be strange for sure.”
RSL and New York will kick off at 7:00 p.m. MT at Kino Veterans Stadium. The game will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s next Desert Diamond Cup match is on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against Seattle Sounders FC.