As the 2022 Major League Soccer summer transfer window was about to slam shut, Real Salt Lake made multiple moves to help secure a spot in the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. One of them being bringing in veteran defender Bryan Oviedo, a player with EFL Championship and Premier League experience who was brought in to make an immediate impact for RSL. And that he did.
The Costa Rican was integrated into the squad quickly and made his MLS debut on August 27, helping RSL earn a crucial road point against FC Dallas just a few days after arriving at the Wasatch Front. From that moment forward, the defender became a pivotal piece in Real Salt Lake's 2022 playoff push, featuring in seven of the nine final matches and starting in five. Oviedo even started and played 73 minutes in RSL’s heartbreaking loss in the first round of the playoffs.
The outside back really made himself known to the RSL faithful when his two assists helped secure the Club a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers, giving RSL the final playoff spot in the West and himself MLS Team of the Week honors for the final round of the regular season.
While Oviedo's 2022 Club season has now ended, his 2022 international season is just starting to heat up.
When Costa Rica kicks off its first match in the 2022 World Cup against Spain on Wednesday, November 23 there may be a familiar face on the pitch. Real Salt Lake defender Bryan Oviedo is looking to lead Los Ticos out of the presumed “group of death” and into the promised land as the Club’s lone player at the World’s biggest international tournament.
As one of the Central American Country’s most experienced players, Oviedo took the road less traveled to make it to his second World Cup. The outside back was a staple in the Costa Rican youth ranks throughout his development, representing Los Ticos at both the U-17 and U-20 levels in international play.
At just 19 years old, Oviedo made his senior team debut in a friendly against Argentina and from then on was penciled in to most squads leading up to the 2014 World Cup. However, playing for Everton in an FA Cup match leading up to the international competition, the Costa Rican star fractured both his left tibia and fibula, forcing him to watch his country make an underdog run to the Quarterfinals from home.
Oviedo’s long wait to play on the world’s biggest stage came to an end in 2018 as Los Ticos punched their ticket to Russia, finishing second in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. After missing the first trip, the outside back made sure to cherish every moment.
“The World Cup is the most important tournament in the world,” Oviedo said. “Every player wants to be there, it is the biggest stage a football player can be on.”
Sadly, Costa Rica wasn’t able to repeat their Cinderella-run from the previous World Cup, failing to make it out of the Group Stage despite Oviedo starting in two of the three matches.
As he began to prepare for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Oviedo looked to net minutes at a high level as he was becoming a free agent after his second stint at FC Copenhagen. On August 4, 2022, he signed with Real Salt Lake and felt it was the perfect place to prepare for international play.
“Every game feels like a final,” the Costa Rican international explained. “It is high intensity, high level, high concentration. That is really important for me because it is the same kind of game I am going to play in the World Cup. This is good preparation for me as I prepare for the upcoming games.”
As the outside back got accustomed to the RSL Way, he saw the Utah Club not only as a place to prepare but to call home.
“I feel really happy here,” Oviedo said. “It is a great Club, great people, that is really important to me. I am so happy to be here and with the decision to come here. I am looking forward to being here for many years.”
Now at age 32, Oviedo will be the Club’s first representative at the World Cup since RSL legends Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando in 2014 and the second RSL player to represent Los Ticos in the tournament as Sequeira did so in 2006.
As fans wait for Oviedo to pick up where they left off for Real Salt Lake in 2023, they can watch him attempt to lead Costa Rica on another magical run. Los Ticos kick off Group E play against Spain on Wednesday, November 23 at 9:00 a.m MT before facing Japan on Sunday, November 27 at 3:00 a.m. MT. Costa Rica will then finish group play against Germany on Thursday, December, 1 at 12:00 p.m. MT.