Match Previews

Real Salt Lake Travels To Houston Wednesday For 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal 

HERRIMAN, Utah (Tuesday, August 22, 2023) – Following a 15-day hiatus on the heels of Leagues Cup elimination at LAFC in the Round of 16, Real Salt Lake (10-7-7, 37 pts, t-2nd West) resumes its 2023 campaign this week with back-to-back matches against Houston; first, in Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal (7:30p MT) at Shell Energy Stadium in South Texas, before returning home to host the Dynamo this Saturday, August 26 at America First Field in Sandy (7:30p MT; tickets available at www.RSL.com/tickets).

RSL arrives in Houston unbeaten in its last five visits to South Texas (one win, four draws) – including 0-0 draws on May 6 of this year and on opening day 2022, RSL last losing there in 2017. The Utah side owns an active eight-game road unbeaten streak in MLS action, the Claret-and-Cobalt last dropping a road decision in League play back on April 15 at Dallas. RSL has suffered just two losses in its last 15 matches since June 1, both in Leagues Cup action, including an August 8 loss at LAFC snapping both an 11-game road unbeaten run and a five-game win streak in elimination games this year (four in U.S. Open Cup, one in Leagues Cup), as Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s team has dropped just five games in its last 27 played across three competitions during a 120-day period since April 8.

Since April 8, RSL has now recorded 15 wins, five losses and seven draws in those 27 games across MLS, Open Cup and Leagues Cup play, securing a berth in the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final four, the 109-year old tourney resuming next week with the August 23 semifinal in Houston. During the recent slate of schedule congestion across MLS and Open Cup action, Mastroeni and staff have used 28 different players, including new Designated Player Chicho Arango, permanently-acquired MF Braian Ojeda and Colombian acquisition Nelson Palacio.

Wednesday’s kickoff at Houston starts at 7:30p MT on CBS Sports GOLAZO / Paramount + w/ Josh Eastern and Ricky Lopez-Espin (ENG) & Copan Alvarez and Walter Roque (SPN). For local coverage, tune in at 6:30p MT for KSL Radio pre-game w/ David James & Jay Nolly via www.KSLSports.com / 1280 AM / 97.5 FM and www.KSLNewsRadio.com / 1160 AM).

#GENNASTRONG FOREVER

It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge that RSL Vice President of Public Relations John Genna passed away early Saturday morning, August 5, mere hours following RSL’s dramatic win over León, at home surrounded by family following a years-long battle against ALS … John’s generosity of spirit, infectious smile and love of helping others, as well as his tireless work ethic and ability to mediate solutions for all parties, will forever permeate the “RSL Family” …

Please visit https://www.RSL.com/news/Genna-Strong-Always for details regarding the Club’s continued fight for an ALS cure, as well as other ongoing community initiatives in John’s memory … In lieu of flowers, the Genna family asks that we continue being #GennaStrong and send donations to www.projectmainst.org on John Genna's behalf … RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni talked during his León post-game on August 4 about what his relationship with Genna has provided since arriving in Utah during the 2021 season: https://mls.imagencloud.com/record/~36a7d2f895

LAMBERT LATEST ADDITION TO RSL

Jamaican international D/M Kevon Lambert arrived in Utah on August 11 following his domestic transfer from the USL Championship side Phoenix Rising. Lambert provides size for RSL’s backline with the versatility to help in the pivot if needed. Regarded as one of the USL’s top players the last two seasons and coming off an impressive Gold Cup for Jamaica, the 26-year-old Lambert is signed to RSL through the 2025 season. Lambert is “cup-tied” to Phoenix for this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but should be eligible to appear for RSL beginning on Saturday, August 26 at home against the Dynamo. 

RUIZ OUT FOR YEAR

RSL MF Pablo Ruiz underwent surgery on his right meniscus last Friday, August 11, the 24-year-old dual Argentine/Chilean citizen, now in his sixth season with Real Salt Lake, saw doctors repair the complex tear of the knee cartilage following Ruiz’s 9th-minute non-contact injury suffered in last week’s 0-4 Leagues Cup Round of 16 match at LAFC. 

“This procedure repairs a severely-damaged meniscus in Pablo’s right knee,” states RSL Senior Director of Athlete Health and Performance Theron Enns. “The exact timeline for his return to the field will be determined later as his rehabilitation progresses, but typically this type of repair requires around four to six months to allow the necessary healing and return to full participation. Pablo has already begun his rehabilitation with our medical staff and we will update his progress as we enter the latter months of the season.”

Ruiz scored four goals and added nine assists in 28 games across MLS, Open Cup and Leagues Cup competitions this season, including a spectacular 70-yard effort in the June 7 win at D.C. United and a three-assist performance – just the second-ever in nearly 700 all-time RSL matches – in a 4-0 home win on July 8 against Orlando.

OJEDA MAKES IT PERMANENT WITH RSL

Late on July 31, RSL permanently acquired MF Braian Ojeda from Nottingham Forest (England), as the Paraguayan international had been on loan from the Premier League side since last August. Ojeda signs with RSL through the 2025 season via Major League Soccer’s U-22 initiative, with RSL holding options on the elite defensive midfielder for the 2026 and 2027 seasons.

OROZCO DEPARTS SANTOS LAGUNA, HEADS TO LARNE FC (NORTHERN IRELAND)

RSL announced August 2 that HomeGrown defender Jaziel Orozco – who has spent this season on loan to Santos Laguna, where he served as Captain of the U-23 side – in order to commence a new loan spell with Larne FC in Northern Ireland. Larne FC is currently participating in UEFA’s Europa Conference League qualification, after finishing atop the 2022/23 Premiership table with 83 points from 38 games, posting a 25-5-8 mark (W-L-T).

RED-HOT SUMMER & LEAGUES CUP RUN GRINDS TO HALT AT LAFC

In no small part due to the Ruiz injury, an emotional return to BMO Stadium for FW* Chicho Arango, uncharacteristic misses on the finishing side as well as defensive gaffes, RSL’s five-game win streak in elimination matches this year was snapped in the Leagues Cup Round of 16 on August 8 at LAFC. The 0-4 final scoreline belies a first half that saw RSL up to the challenge, with Arango missing a volley wide by an inch, with Andrés Gómez* and others narrowly missing quality chances created. LAFC killer and MLS MVP candidate Denis Bouanga scored twice in the first seven minutes of the second half to break the 0-0 halftime deadlock, with two other finishes sending RSL home for a 12-day rest.

RSL arrived at LAFC looking to continue its second-half momentum from the 3-1 comeback against León and further rebound from the 0-3 home loss to Monterrey back on July 22. RSL had advanced to the West Region’s final four with a thrilling 3-1 comeback win against Mexican power and CONCACAF Champions League holders Club León August 4 in Utah, as a three-minute Danny Musovski brace and an Arango dagger during a 12-minute span in the second half reversed an 0-1 deficit to advance RSL. Arango has scored three goals and added two assists in his now seven games with RSL, while Musovski now owns nine goals and five assists since late April to match Jefferson Savarino for the Club’s all-competition Golden Boot lead in 2023.