HERRIMAN, Utah (Friday, May 6, 2022) – Real Salt Lake (4-2-4, 16 pts, t-3rd West) travels to Tennessee for the first time ever this weekend, visiting Nashville SC (3-3-3, 12 pts, 9th West) Sunday afternoon. All-time, RSL has earned four points in two home matches against the 2021 expansion side, winning 2-1 at home back on March 19 (Wood 2, Schmitt 54) following a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto Stadium a year ago. Sunday’s match marks the second-ever Nashville home match at the 30,000+ capacity GEODIS Park, which opened on May 1 with a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia. The March 19 win over Nashville was the last result of a four-game unbeaten run to open RSL’s 2022 campaign, and preceded a five-game winless run snapped with last week’s 1-0 home win over LA Galaxy.
Sunday’s match will be broadcast locally via KMYU (12 over the air, 22 satellite and 643 HD on cable), with streaming on the KSL Sports App, as well as ESPN700 AM radio. Spanish-speaking fans can tune in on KBMG Latino 106.3 FM, La Gran D 102.3 FM and KTUB 1600 AM for the local radio broadcast.
RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s side has not conceded a goal since April 17, posting back-to-back shutouts in MLS play the last two weeks with last Saturday’s 1-0 win over LA Galaxy preceded by a 0-0 draw at Portland on April 23. RSL DF Marcelo Silva – who has worn the Captain’s armband in six of his nine starts this season, in place of injured Captain Damir Kreilach – headed home the 49th-minute game-winning goal.
Silva’s goal snapped a 274-minute scoreless streak for RSL dating back to April 9, while the win snapped a five-game winless run for the Claret-and-Cobalt. The Uruguayan centerback found the back of the net on a corner kick served by MF Pablo Ruiz before 20,775 at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday, the 9th-largest crowd in RioT history and a Club-record fourth consecutive sellout to open the 2022 season. The goal was Silva’s third of his 90-game MLS regular-season career, and his first since late 2019, while the assist was Ruiz’ third of the young season, leaving him one shy of his career high of four, set across 29 games last year.
Real Salt Lake @ Nashville SC
GEODIS Park; Nashville, TN
Sunday, May 8 at 3:00 p.m. MT
RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni played for current Nashville boss Gary Smith when both were in Colorado together from 2008-11, winning MLS Cup 2010 together. Current RSL Assistant Coach Brett Jacobs worked with both in Colorado from 2008-13, and was a member of Smith’s Nashville SC staff each of the last two MLS seasons (2020-21) prior to joining Mastroeni in Utah in January.
Game Notes for Sunday’s RSL @ Nashville SC Match Available Online
The Adobe PDF version of the 2022 MLS Game Guide in advance of Sunday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Nashville SC can be found here. Media members looking to receive the document as an attachment or have further questions are asked to please contact Meg Van Dyk in RSL Communications via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Records: Real Salt Lake (4-2-4, 16 pts, t-3rd West); Nashville SC (3-3-3, 12 pts, 9th West)
OTHER 2022 RSL NOTES:
WEEKEND DEBUT FOR ANDERSON?
One of RSL’s three acquisitions during the recently closed transfer window could make his 2022 RSL debut Sunday in Nashville, as FW Anderson Julio is expected to land in Salt Lake on Friday morning for his medical, train with the Club on Saturday and travel with the team. Julio scored 8 goals in 30 appearances for RSL a year ago, and also added a playoff goal at Kansas City while on loan from Atletico San Luis (Liga MX). San Luis did not register or play the Ecuadoran attacker in the most recent Clausura, eventually selling the young 25-year old to Real Salt Lake last week. If he plays, Julio will be the 25th player to see MLS minutes in the first 11 games for Pablo Mastroeni and staff this season.
The other two deadline moves – DF Chris Kablan, on loan from Blitzer-owned Waasland-Beveren; and FW Jefferson Savarino, the Venezuelan international who returns to RSL as a Designated Player from Atletico Mineiro in Brazil – are not expected to play in upcoming weeks for the Claret-and-Cobalt. Kablan has participated in a handful of training sessions this week, while Savarino’s work visa process is expected to take a couple weeks. Could Savarino be ready for the May 22 trip to Montreal? Possibly, that’s the goal for the spectacular plamaker who scored 22 goals and added 21 assists in 83 games across MLS reg. season and playoff action from 2017-19.
BETTING ON RSL AT NASH-VEGAS
RSL has earned points in eight of its last 11 road matches (4-3-4, 16 pts), dating back to Oct. 27 last year and matching the Club’s record 2010 stretch (3-1-7, 16 pts) as the MOST successful away spell in Club history. With a win or draw Sunday at GEODIS Park, RSL would eclipse the 16 points earned over 12 away games from May 22-Oct. 30, 2010 to set a new road standard.
However, a few historical indicators stack up against Real Salt Lake this week. In the Club’s initial visits to new stadiums since 2007, RSL’s record is just 2-9-3, with wins at Cincinnati last year and at NYCFC in 2016. RSL drew at Orlando in 2016, at Philadelphia in 2010 and at Toronto in 2007 in Claret-Cobalt debuts at those cities. Overall, in first-ever visits to an opponent, RSL is 2-19-4, which includes the 2005 expansion season when the Claret-and-Cobalt posted an 0-10-1 mark against the other 11 opponents in debut games. RSL drew at the Meadowlands against the MetroStars in its first-ever match, then lost 10 straight.
When playing in front of crowds of 30,000+, RSL owns an all-time MLS mark of 3-13-5, with all but four games overall being played at Seattle. RSL lost its lone MLS home game that exceeded the 30k threshold, dropping 0-2 to visiting Dallas at Rice-Eccles Stadium in June, 2005, as part of the historic USA-Costa Rica doubleheader that Summer.
All three road wins before crowds of 30k or more did come at Seattle, with an 0-2-1 road mark at Chicago, Atlanta and Orlando in recent years. In postseason matches, all at Seattle, RSL is 0-2-3, with one of the draws the technical representation of RSL’s MLS Cup 2009 title game over LA Galaxy.
O CAPTAIN OUR CAPTAIN
Fifth-year MF Damir Kreilach was named RSL’s Captain during the preseason following the free agency departure of Albert Rusnák. Kreilach becomes the Club’s sixth mainstay captain in the Club’s history, following the footsteps of M/F Jason Kreis (2005-07), MF Carey Talley (2007), MF Kyle Beckerman (2008-20) and Rusnák (2021). Kreilach – referenced by Mastroeni as the team’s “X FACTOR” – continues the 2022 season as the team’s leading active goal scorer (fourth all-time), with 43 goals to go along with 23 assists in reg. season play.
Due to calf and back injuries this year, and a shortened offseason and a Covid-laden preseason, Kreilach has only started three of the 10 games this year, coming off the bench for short stints in three others. Veteran DF Marcelo Silva has worn the band in six of the seven games missed by Kreilach, with GK Zac MacMath also serving as the team’s leader in the one game – March 19 v Nashville – missed by Silva (toe).
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni began his first full season as the Club’s sixth-ever permanent head coach Feb. 27 in Houston. As RSL’s interim manager for the final 100 days of 2021, Mastroeni posted a combined reg. season / postseason record of 8-8-1, leading a shock “Cinderella” run to the West Final in Portland, RSL’s fifth Conference Final appearance since 2008. With 10 Conf. Semi appearances in the last 14 years, RSL is second only to Seattle in terms of perennial MLS Cup Playoff advancement from 2008-21.
Mastroeni’s all-time RSL record is now 12-10-5 (38 pts), while his all-time MLS coaching record is currently 51-62-40 (187 pts) in reg. season / playoffs combined. Pablo spent one year as an assistant in Houston on Tab Ramos’ staff in 2020 before coming to RSL to join Freddy Juarez’ staff in February, 2021. With Colorado from 2014-16, Mastroeni led RSL’s Rocky Mountain Cup rivals to their best-ever regular-season in 2015. The former U.S. Men’s National Team stalwart played 7 matches in the 2002 / 2006 World Cups for current Revolution boss Bruce Arena, part of his 65-appearance career with USMNT.
RSL’s trip to Gillette Stadium March 12 marked the second away match in the Club’s first three games this season, which sees RSL travel for six of its first 9 matches overall. Following a Rio Tinto Stadium win against Nashville on March 19, RSL has now gone winless in four with just two points accrued in three road matches at Kansas City, Colorado and New York City FC sandwiched around the 2-2 home draw with Toronto April 9.
Despite historic anemia away from home, RSL has earned results in six of its last nine overall road contests dating back to 2021. Late regular-season wins in Dallas and Kansas City overcame home stumbles to San Jose/Portland and made the postseason possible, while RSL deserved to advance in the MLS Cup Playoffs with its unforgettable performances at Seattle and Kansas City before falling at Portland in the West Final.
Can RSL regain its 2.00 points-per-game road average established this early part of the year with responses to its worst road performance in Club history at NYCFC? Road wins at Nashville / Montreal in May would go a long, long way.
RSL finally gets a stretch of eight home games in 12 contests from April 30 to July 9.