HERRIMAN, Utah (Wednesday, September 6, 2023) – Four Real Salt Lake players have been selected by their home nations to represent internationally during the ongoing FIFA window, as Kevon Lambert (Jamaica), Braian Ojeda (Paraguay), Rubio Rubin (Guatemala) and Jefferson Savarino (Venezuela) have each been called into duty. Each player is expected to return to Utah in advance of RSL’s next Major League Soccer matchday on Saturday, September 16 for an 8:30 p.m. MT kickoff at PayPal Park in San Jose against the Earthquakes.
- Lambert’s recall to represent Jamaica arrives on the heels of an outstanding Gold Cup for the Reggae Boyz, with this selection his first as a member of Real Salt Lake, for which he made his MLS debut on August 26. Lambert boasts 23 appearances for Jamaica’s senior team.
- The 23-year-old Ojeda has made eight appearances in the last two years for Paraguay, on the heels of 16 appearances for various Albirroja youth national teams. Four of Ojeda’s eight Paraguayan caps came in the most recent CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying cycle.
- Rubin boasts five goals in 13 matches since his debut with Guatemala in May, 2022, including two goals in three games played in the most recent Gold Cup for Los Chapines. Rubin, 27, appeared in seven games for the U.S. National Team, but employed his one-time switch to represent his mother’s birth country.
- Savarino is Real Salt Lake’s leading goalscorer thus far in 2023, scoring nine times in all competitions and leading RSL for its league-specific Golden Boot with six goals. The 26-year-old Venezuelan has appeared in 32 senior team matches for Los Vinotintos, scoring twice.
Headlining the fixture list for the RSL quartet is the South American World Cup Qualifier between Ojeda’s Paraguayan side as it travels to play Savarino’s Venezuelan team on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 5:00 p.m. MT. Prior to that fixture, Paraguay hosts Peru this Thursday (5:30 p.m. MT), while Venezuela travels to face Colombia, also this Thursday (6:00 p.m. MT).
Later on Thursday, Rubin’s Guatemalan side plays the first of two home matches in this CONCACAF Nations League window, hosting El Salvador at 9:15 p.m. MT. On Sunday, Sept.10, Rubin and Guatemala host Panama (7:00 p.m. MT).
Lambert’s Jamaican team also hosts both matches in the current set of FIFA dates, welcoming Honduras to Kingston on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. MT. Next Tuesday, Sept. 12, the Reggae Boyz host Haiti at 7:00 p.m. MT.
Real Salt Lake (11-9-7, 40 pts., t-3rd West) will then welcome its international quartet back into the training mix ahead of its resumption of the 2023 season, RSL’s 19th in Major League Soccer. RSL will travel to face the San Jose Earthquakes (9-9-9, 36 pts., 8th West) on Saturday, Sept. 16, with kickoff at 8:30 p.m. 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.