HERRIMAN, Utah (Wednesday, September 6, 2023) – Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer) and Real Monarchs (MLS NEXT Pro) today finalized a trio of loans that will see Generation adidas forward Ilijah Paul head to Larne FC (Northern Ireland), Homegrown defender Delentz Pierre join Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL Championship) and defender Gennaro Nigro play for ADO Den Haag (Netherlands) for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Rookie striker Paul becomes the second RSL player to join Larne FC, joining RSL Homegrown defender Jaziel Orozco, who just made his “Man of the Match” debut for the Northern Irish club Saturday, following his August loan move from Santos Laguna (Mexico).
This season, Paul has appeared in seven MLS contests for Real Salt Lake, starting in one match against Columbus Crew in April and providing the critical shot on goal at Toronto in July that led to Anderson Julio’s game-winner. The former Univ. of Washington product has primarily played with the Claret-and-Cobalt’s second team, Real Monarchs, where he has recorded a team-leading five goals in 12 appearances this year.
Aside from a pair of RSL starts in the early rounds of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Pierre has spent the entirety of his first professional season playing with Real Monarchs, appearing in 14 matches, all of them starts. He recently scored the game-winning goal in the team’s 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps 2, his first professional goal, assisted by younger brother Bobby Pierre.
Nigro, a member of Real Monarchs, has recorded one assist in 17 matches since joining the Club in the summer of 2022. Following a two-week trial at famed developmental side ADO Den Haag, Nigro signed his loan deal over the weekend to confirm plans for the remainder of 2023 season.
Real Monarchs (8-12-5, 31 pts., 10th West) have three more games left in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro regular season, beginning Sat., Sept. 9 at Colorado Rapids 2 (16-4-5, 57 pts., 1st West) with a 7:30p MT kickoff. The final home game of 2023 will be played on Fri., Sept. 15 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman at 8:00p MT against the visiting Tacoma Defiance (12-5-8, 49 pts, 2nd West), with the season finale occurring on Sun., Sept. 24 at Portland Timbers 2 (10-14-1, 31 pts, 9th West).
Real Salt Lake (11-9-7, 40 pts., t-3rd West) is off this weekend during the ongoing FIFA international break, resuming the 2023 season, RSL’s 19th in Major League Soccer by traveling to face the San Jose Earthquakes (9-9-9, 36 pts., 8th West) on Saturday, Sept. 16, with kickoff at 8:30p MT (Apple TV+ / MLS Season Pass / KSL Radio).
RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s side enters the final seven games of the season one point shy of second-place Seattle (11-9-8, 41 pts., 2nd West), although RSL has played one fewer game than the Sounders. The Utah side’s 40 points is even with reigning MLS Cup Champion and Supporters Shield holders LAFC, which have played one game fewer than RSL. Both LAFC and San Jose will travel for road games during the FIFA break on Sat., Sept. 9, with San Jose facing D.C. United and LAFC heading to Portland Timbers FC.
With 40 points accumulated through 27 games of the 2023 MLS campaign, Real Salt Lake is part of a seven-team glut from 2nd to 8th place in the Western Conference separated by just five points in the race for the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs (nine teams), RSL seeking its first home postseason match since 2019.
Real Salt Lake’s road record of 6-4-3 (21 pts.) is the best in the West, while a victory in one of RSL’s remaining four away matches would set a new Club record for road wins in a season. Following the San Jose trip on Sept. 16, RSL travels to LA twice – at LAFC on Oct. 1 and at LA Galaxy on Oct. 14 – prior to a Decision Day trip to suburban Denver on Oct. 21 against Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado.
Throughout 2023, Mastroeni and staff have utilized 29 players across three competitions, advancing to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal and the Leagues Cup Round of 16. Following the San Jose trip on Sept. 16, RSL hosts both Dallas and Vancouver on Sept. 20 and 23 at America First Field, with the Club’s final reg. season home game against Kansas City on Sat., Oct. 7. Tickets for the final trio of league matches this year can be purchased at www.RSL.com/tickets, while 2023 RSL Season Ticket Members and 2024 renewals will have first choice at their seats for any potential upcoming MLS Cup Playoff home matches.
Real Salt Lake has finished each of the last two seasons in dramatic fashion, booking its place in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Decision Day with scintillating wins in both 2021 (1-0 at Kansas City) and 2022 (3-1 against Portland), advancing to the postseason in 12 of the last 15 campaigns.
2023 RSL Single-Game & 2024 Season Ticket Packages are now on sale
at **_www.RSL.com_**or by calling _844.Real.Tix_.