SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, January 17, 2017) – Real Salt Lake closed out the 2017 MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday, selecting University of Illinois at Chicago GK Andrew Putna with the 48th overall pick in the third round. RSL passed on its selections with the 57th overall pick in the third round and the 74th and 79th overall picks in the fourth round. RSL previously had selected DF Reagan Dunk with the 13th overall pick in the first round and DF Justin Schmidt with the 35th overall pick in the second round on Friday.
“We have a good relationship with UIC with their Head Coach Sean Phillips and their Associate Head Coach Aleksey Korol,” Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar said. “We’ve seen him play a few times and we like what we saw. He’s going to have to come in and compete.”
Putna, 22, made 74 appearances in four seasons with the Flames, going 41-24-8 with 30 shutouts and a 1.05 goals against average. A two-time Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year, Putna captained UIC in his junior and senior seasons.
He started his college career by earning Horizon League All-Freshman honors after going 16-4-0 with 10 shutouts and a 0.79 goals against average to earn a Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year selection. During his senior season, he repeated the All-League honor by posting a 9-6-3 record with seven shutouts and a 1.32 goals against average.
RSL acquired the 48th overall pick in a trade with the Houston Dynamo prior to the 2016 season, sending DF Abdoulie Mansally to the Dynamo in exchange for the third-round pick. The 74th overall pick in the fourth round was acquired in a trade with Orlando City SC in exchange for MF Yordany Alvarez.
RSL opens its 13th MLS campaign at home against reigning Eastern Conference Champions Toronto FC at 2:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, March 4.
Season Tickets for Real Salt Lake's 2017 campaign at Rio Tinto Stadium are now on sale; please visit www.RSL.com/tickets/royalty or call 844.Real.Tix for more information. An overwhelming percentage of current Season Ticket Members have renewed prior to the early deadline, with several hundred STMs looking to upgrade locations and add seats for RSL's 13th year.
On Saturday, March 11, Real Salt Lake – which returns nine of 11 starters (including club icons Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, as well as leading scorers Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata) from 2016 and a core of 16 players for Head Coach Jeff Cassar after qualifying for the postseason for the eighth time in nine seasons – travels to Toyota Park in Chicago at 12:00 noon MT, visiting the Fire in that club’s home opener.
The March 4, 2017 date against Toronto will mark the club’s earliest non-CONCACAF Champions League opener in its 13 seasons. All-time, RSL is 5-0-7 in its previous 12 home-opening MLS matches, including a 4-0-4 mark at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, dating back to 2009. Only once before – on March 29, 2008 at Rice-Eccles Stadium – has RSL opened its MLS season with a contest on Utah soil.
RSL boasts an all-time 7-1-0 mark at home against Toronto FC, outscoring the “Reds” 19-8 and amassing seven consecutive victories since losing 1-2 on a late Collin Samuel penalty kick on July 4, 2007, at Rice-Eccles Stadium. In the clubs’ lone 2016 meeting, RSL dropped an 0-1 decision at remodeled BMO Field, as FW Toussaint Ricketts scored his first MLS goal for the 68’ game-winner.
The 2017 Real Monarchs / USL season kicks off in April. Season Tickets for the Real Monarchs third season in 2017 are now on sale; please call 844.Real.Tix for more information. Coming in late Summer, 2017, Real Salt Lake's regional training center opens in Herriman, Utah, approximately 20 minutes southwest of Rio Tinto Stadium.
The $50 million facility will serve as the daily training home beginning in 2018 for both of the club's professional teams – RSL (MLS) and Real Monarchs (USL) – while centralizing the club's U-18, U-16 and future U-14 development academy youth selections. The Herriman facility will provide adjacencies for an on-site charter school opening in Fall, 2018, with STEM disciplines (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) for nearly 300 boys and girls.
In mid-November in North Logan, Utah, RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen broke ground on the first of a half-dozen regional training centers across Utah and Arizona to be built in the next 2-3 years. Each $5 million RTC houses a classroom, as well as an indoor and outdoor field, dedicated to fulfilling a curriculum dedicated to the club's vision and mission for youth soccer training and education, and the continued development of both recreational and competitive pre-Academy (ages 7-12) initiatives across Utah and Arizona.