Preview: RSL v. Philadelphia Union

SANDY, Utah  – Real Salt Lake opens up its 2015 regular season home slate Saturday, welcoming the Philadelphia Union to Rio Tinto Stadium. While RSL has sold out 18 of its last 20 games, a handful of good seats remain, with TV coverage kicking off at 7:00 p.m. MT on KMYU (2.2 over air / 12 satellite / 643 Comcast). Saturday’s match will also be broadcast locally on ESPN 700 AM (pre-game at 6:30p MT / post-game at 9:30p MT) and 102.3 La Gran D FM.

Real Salt Lake enters 2015 seeking to extend its seven-season playoff streak, the longest active run in Major League Soccer. On the heels of five consecutive 15+ -win, 50+ -point seasons, Head Coach Jeff Cassar’s team returns 19 players to the club roster from a year ago, including eight starters – despite an offseason of change that saw long-time veterans depart.

RSL owns an all-time 4-0-6 mark in its previous 10 season openers on Utah soil, including a 3-0-3 mark at Rio Tinto Stadium. A pair of 1-1 draws each of the last two seasons against LA and COL have come since the club’s last home-opening win, a 2-0 victory in 2012 over RBNY.

RSL owns a distinct home-field advantage since the beginning of 2008, boasting an 86-18-33 mark in its last 137 home games (all comps) in that span, during which it has outscored opponents by 154 goals (253-99), with a 70-13-30 reg. season mark (209/81), 6-1-1 CCL record (17/5), 5-2-2 playoffs (11/4) and 5-2-0 Open Cup (16/9). The club’s 12-1-7 overall home mark a year ago was no doubt buoyed by the continued growth of season ticket holders, expected to surpass 15,000 later this month.

For tickets, click here.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake v. Philadelphia Union

•   Coverage Begins: 7:00 p.m. MT at Philadelphia Union

•   TV: KMYU (2.2 over air / 12 satellite / 643 Comcast) – David James & Brian Dunseth

•   English Radio: 107.1 FM (Pregame at 6:30 p.m. MT) – Jeremy Horton & Brian Kamler

•   Spanish Radio: 102.3 La Gran D FM / 1600 AM – Nelson Moran

•   Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide match updates

 

Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL-PHI Match Now Available Online

Following is the link to the Adobe PDF version of the MLS Game Guide in advance of Saturday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia Union.

Click here to download the PDF version of the MLS Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL-PHI matchup

RSL History v. Philadelphia Union

Saturday’s match is the lone regular-season meeting between the clubs, with RSL posting an all-time 2-0-5 mark against Philadelphia, including a 2-0-1 mark on Utah soil and an 0-0-4 mark in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge. Philadelphia (3 visits) are one of 4 MLS teams to have never won in Utah, joining New York Red Bulls (9 games), Vancouver (6 games) and Montreal (1 game).

In Philadelphia’s last visit to Sandy in 2013, late-game dramatics provided the Independence Day Fireworks for RSL, as a 97’ handball by Ray Gaddis led to Javier Morales’ equalizing PK, one which struck the right post and just snuck inside the opposite post in an ending to a bizarre game that also saw a Lovel Palmer red card, and a shorthanded RSL equalizer cancelled out by a Conor Casey breakaway just seconds later.

In 2014, RSL and PHI saw late-game goals traded by its premier midfield generals, as Kyle Beckerman thought he snared late road points at PPL Park off a Morales cutback pass in the box, but Maurice Edu slammed home a rebound on a corner kick in stoppage time for a draw.

Unblemished 2014 Campaign v. Eastern Conference

Last year’s August 9 win by a 3-0 scoreline over D.C. United concluded the club’s 2014 series against Eastern Conference teams with a 6-0-4 overall mark, outscoring the East 23-10, including a 4-0-1 home mark with a 12-3 goal differential.

RSL Icons Rimando, Beckerman, Saborio Back for 2015

A pair of RSL icons – GK Nick Rimando and Captain Kyle Beckerman – rank 1st / 2nd amongst active players in several categories, including games played (Rimando 371, Beckerman 354), games started (Rimando 371, Beckerman 325) and minutes played (Rimando 33,543, Beckerman 29,166). The pair of U.S. Men’s National Team standouts could attain various all-time league records this season, with Rimando 16 wins from matching Kevin Hartman’s total of 180 (Rimando holds the all-time clean sheet lead with 116, compiled in 45 fewer matches than Hartman’s 112). Beckerman already leads MLS in all-time fouls committed with 533 (1.5 per game), and could become the league’s all-time caution leader with five yellow cards, joining former teammate Pablo Mastroeni at 81 in 360+ games.

RSL’s all-time leading scorer, FW Alvaro Saborio, is just four multi-goal games and one hat trick from moving into the top five of either MLS all-time category, by virtue of his 60 reg. season goals in 114 career games (21 game-winners, 13 multi-goal performances, 3 hat tricks). Across all competitions, the Costa Rican international known as “Sabo” owns 78 goals in 140 games (reg. season, playoff, CCL & Open Cup), with 25 GWG and 16 braces.

Back at Rio Tinto in Two Weeks v. TFC on FS1

After a bye weekend on March 21, Real Salt Lake returns home in two weeks to host USMNT stars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Toronto FC on Sun., March 29 at 5:00 p.m. MT, in the club’s first-ever Sunday home regular-season match, with a national TV audience tuning in via Fox Sports 1.  Former RSL FW Robbie Findley makes his Rio Tinto Stadium return, as RSL’s 3rd-leading all-time scorer (36 career goals) tallied in TFC’s opening-day 3-1 win at Vancouver.

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