Preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Manchester United

SALT LAKE CITY / SANDY, Utah (Monday, July 17, 2017)  – Real Salt Lake kicks off a three-game week which includes a return to MLS reg. season action and Pioneer Day fireworks by hosting iconic and legendary international power Manchester United – Europa Cup holders and winners of a record 20 top-flight titles in England (including 13 in the Premier League era) and three European championships TONIGHT at 8:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Presented locally by the Utah Sports Commission, the Red Devils make their first trip to Utah, joining a list of top-flight international clubs to visit the Beehive State to face RSL. Manchester United follows Real Madrid (Spain) in 2006 (Rice-Eccles Stadium), Everton (England) in 2007/09 and Internazionale Milano (Italy) in 2016 (Rio Tinto Stadium).  RSL also boasts a long history of hosting regional CONCACAF powers Club América (Mexico) in 2008, Saprissa (Costa Rica) in 2011, Chivas de Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2008, as well as South American clubs Boca Juniors (Argentina) in 2007 and Universidad Católica (Chile) in 2005, among others.

Real Salt Lake is now 6-9-0 since April 8 in its new era under Head Coach Mike Petke, the club defeating LA Galaxy 6-2 in its last MLS contest on July 4, prior to the league’s Gold Cup hiatus. The four-goal win was RSL’s most-dominant road victory in its 13-year history, featuring five different scorers, including a brace for Venezuelan international Jefferson Savarino. MF Albert Rusnák returned from Slovakia to notch at goal and two assists in his first start since June 3, while Yura Movsisyan, Kyle Beckerman and Joao Plata also found the back of the net.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake v. Manchester United – Mon., July 17, 2017

  • Coverage Begins: 8:00 p.m. MT
  • Local TV: ESPN2 – Adrian Healey, Alejandro Moreno and Brian Dunseth
  • English Radio: ESPN700 AM (7:00 p.m. MT) – Bill Riley & Jay Nolly, w/ Jeremy Horton & Spencer Warne (pre-/post-game)
  • Spanish Radio: 102.3 La Gran D FM / 1600 AM – Nelson Moran & Fernando Hortal
  • Online: The @RSLmatchday Twitter feed provides updates

“On behalf of the Utah Sports Commission, Monday, July 17, 2017 will be an exciting day for the great State of Utah, which we refer to as the ‘State of Sport,’” said Utah Sports Commission President & CEO Jeff Robbins, whose office has worked closely with RSL and others to attract high-profile events to the Beehive State. “Bringing the eyes of the world to focus on RSL and soccer in Utah via such a global brand as Manchester United testifies to the aspiration and vision that Dell Loy Hansen espouses for our community.”

For the second consecutive Summer, Real Salt Lake faces a European side at the world-class Utah venue, with a few hundred tickets remaining in the venue affectionately known as “the RioT,” with a capacity of 20,138. Remaining tickets start at just $50, increasing in value depending on location and available hospitality packages, details of which can be viewed by visiting www.RSL.com/tickets or by calling 844.Real.Tix for more information). Standing-room only tickets have also been released as part of this historic event.

Managed by Jose Mourinho, regarded as one of the most accomplished bosses in world soccer, Manchester United features a star-studded travel roster that includes this Summer’s major acquisition, Belgian FW Romelu Lukaku, expected to make his “Red Devil” debut next Monday in Utah.  MF Paul Pogba (France) and Marouane Fellaini (Belgium) headline one of the world’s deepest and most international rosters, one which includes FW Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia), DF Victor Lindelof (Sweden), GK David de Gea and MF Juan Mata (Spain), as well as DF Marcos Rojo (Argentina) and Daley Blind (Netherlands). Not to be forgotten as part of Mourinho’s 28-player roster for the “AON Unmissable Tour 2017” are men who have made their names with United, including MF Ander Herrera, club icon Michael Carrick, FW Marcus Rashford, FW Anthony Martial, MF Jesse Lingard and DF Eric Bailly, amongst others.

“Our fans have been incredibly supportive since our inception in 2005 and they deserve the opportunity to see the world’s best on our Rio Tinto Stadium field,” RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen said, reiterating that the club’s soon-to-open Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman – just 20 minutes southwest of Rio Tinto Stadium – will provide a training destination for many of the world’s best going forward starting next Summer.  “The Manchester United club is synonymous with the beautiful game around the globe, and to welcome them here to our great State to play against RSL represents a great milestone as we broaden and deepen soccer’s foothold in Utah.”

The Rio Tinto Stadium box office is open Mon.-Fri., 10a-6p; more information can be found online at www.RSL.com/Tickets. Current or interested RSL Royalty Season Ticket Members can purchase extra tickets at preferred pricing or gain assistance via the Fan Relations Hotline at 801-727-2702.

ABOUT MANCHESTER UNITED:

Manchester United is one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world, playing one of the most popular spectator sports on Earth. Throughout its 139-year heritage, it has won 66 trophies (a record 20 League Titles, a joint-record 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields; MUFC has also won four European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup; in 1998–99, the club became the first in the history of English football to achieve the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League) to become England’s most successful club ever, enabling it to develop the world’s leading sports brand and a global community of over 659 million followers. The club’s large, passionate community provides Manchester United with a worldwide platform to generate significant revenue from multiple sources, including sponsorship, merchandising, product licensing, new media & mobile, broadcasting and match day.

Mourinho’s Manchester United men will play five games in five cities this Summer, facing Real Salt Lake prior to participation in the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken. In the ICC, Manchester United will play Manchester City (Thurs., July 20;  Houston), Real Madrid C.F. in Santa Clara, California (Sun., July 23) and FC Barcelona in Landover, Maryland (Wed., July 26) in the fifth year of the tourney, organized by Relevent Sports. In the Red Devils’ previous two visits to the United States, the club has welcomed more than half a million supporters to games across the country, where United has over eight million followers.

This year’s two-week tour forms part of the club’s preparations for the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, with the Red Devils’ long-standing relationship with the U.S. having seen the club make 14 previous visits to the country facing American and Mexican sides, as well as a host of clubs from across Europe.  United first visited America in 1950 as part of a close-season tour, playing against local clubs.

REAL SALT LAKE’S INTERNATIONAL HISTORY:

Real Salt Lake famously hosted its first European visitor back in August, 2006, when world power Real Madrid visited the Beehive State, RSL falling 0-2 at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus on August 12, 2006, not coincidentally the date of Rio Tinto Stadium’s groundbreaking. The following Summer, RSL downed Everton (ENG), 2-0, with the Liverpool-based side returning to Utah for the 2009 MLS All-Star Game in Sandy, the Toffees winning via penalty kick shootout, 4-3, to decide a 1-1 draw at the conclusion of 90 minutes.

RSL’s history against international clubs at Rio Tinto Stadium is dominated by CONCACAF Champions League play with 22 of 23 all-time games of this type part of CCL competition; however, numerous friendlies have existed against Mexican, Argentine, Jamaican, Chilean and English teams, mostly at Rice-Eccles Stadium during the 13-year old club’s early years. The records:

With last Summer’s 1-2 loss at home to Italy’s Inter Milan, RSL’s all-time record is now 18-10-10 (W-L-T) all-time in international contests, with a +14 goal differential (55 goals for / 41 goals against) … In meaningful int’l competition, RSL is 11-5-6 (34 GF / 22 GA) …

In the Rio Tinto Stadium era, RSL is 13-7-8 vs. visiting international squads (does NOT include league matches against visiting Canadian teams, against whom RSL is now 14-2-3 (33/14 goal +/-); however, the record DOES include CCL series v. Columbus and Toronto) …

The complete historical rundown, with friendlies against international teams in RED and CCL games in blue (European teams in BOLD):

Date                           Opponent                                         Score / Result

June 8, 2005             Universidad Catolica (CHL)           3-2      W        @ Rice-Eccles Stadium
August 24, 2005       Harbour View F.C. (JAM)               1-1      T
July 19, 2006            Monarcas Morelia (MEX)                1-3      L
August 12, 2006     Real Madrid (SPN)                        0-2      L
April 18, 2007           Fiji National Team                            3-0      W
June 7, 2007             Chinese National Team                  1-0      W
July 21, 2007           Everton (ENG)                                 2-0      W
July 24, 2007            Boca Juniors (ARG)                        1-1      T
July 9, 2008              Santos Laguna (MEX)                     1-4      L
July 23, 2008            Dep. Saprissa (CRC)                      1-2      L
Sept. 3, 2008            UANL Tigres (MEX)                         1-0      W                                                       
July 11, 2009            C.F. América (MEX)                         1-0      W        @ Rio Tinto Stadium
July 29, 2009            Everton (ENG) v MLS All-Stars     1-1      T (EVE wins 4-3 in shootout)
Oct. 7, 2009              CD Guadalajara (MEX)                   1-1      T
June 19, 2010           Puntarenas F.C. (CRC)                  2-0      W
August 18, 2010       Árabe Unido (PAN)                          2-1      W
August 25, 2010       @ Cruz Azul (MEX)                         4-5      L
Sept. 15, 2010          Toronto FC (CAN)                           4-1      W
Sept. 22, 2010          @ Arabe Unido (PAN)                    3-2      W
Sept. 28, 2010          @ Toronto FC (CAN)                      1-1      T
Oct. 19, 2010            Cruz Azul (MEX)                              3-1      W
Feb. 22, 2011           @ Columbus (USA)                         0-0      T
March 1, 2011          Columbus Crew (USA)                   4-1      W
March 15, 2011        Dep. Saprissa (CRC)                      2-0      W
April 5, 2011              @ Dep. Saprissa (CRC)                 1-2      L*
April 20, 2011           @ Monterrey (MEX)                         2-2      T
April 27, 2011           Monterrey (MEX)                              0-1      L
July 31, 2012             @ Herediano (CRC)                        0-1      L
August 21, 2012       Tauro FC (PAN)                               2-0      W
Sept. 18, 2012          @ Tauro FC (PAN)                          1-0      W
Oct. 23, 2012            Herediano (CRC)                             0-0      T
August 12, 2014       Xolos de Tijuana (MEX)                  1-1      T
August 4, 2015         @ Municipal (GUA)                         1-0      W
Sept. 15, 2015          @ Santa Tecla (SLV)                      0-0      T
Sept. 24, 2015          Santa Tecla (SLV)                           2-1      W
Oct. 20, 2015            Municipal (GUA)                              1-0      W
Feb. 24, 2016           @ UANL Tigres (MEX)                    0-2      L
March 2, 2016          UANL Tigres (MEX)                         1-1      T
July 19, 2016           Internazionale Milano (ITA)         1-2      L
July 17, 2017           Manchester United FC (ENG)     8:00 p.m. MT

ABOUT REAL SALT LAKE:

Real Salt Lake recently surpassed the midway point of its 13th Major League Soccer season in 2017, the Utah side buoyed by a passionate fan base boasting nearly 15,000 season ticket holders at its Rio Tinto Stadium home in Sandy, where the “Claret-and-Cobalt” has enjoyed a most pronounced home-field advantage in Major League Soccer, posting an impressive 102-24-40 mark in the building since its opening in October, 2008.

In search of hardware, RSL seeks to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the ninth time in 10 years this season, a remarkable run among Major League Soccer’s elite that includes an MLS Cup 2009 title, the state of Utah’s only major professional championship in the last 40 years. Recent campaigns have seen RSL advance to another MLS Cup title game, losing in 2013 via a penalty-kick shootout in Kansas City, where the 2015 squad also dropped a Semifinal match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. RSL lost an Open Cup Final at home in 2013, the one-goal loss to D.C. United a bitter reminder of the Club’s groundbreaking (and ultimately heartbreaking) run to the CONCACAF Champions League Final in 2011, when the club became the first-ever – and still only – U.S. side to progress within one goal of advancing to the FIFA Club World Cup.

Opening on August 22 of this year, the Zions Bank Real Academy training campus arrives in Herriman, Utah, approximately 20 minutes southwest of Rio Tinto Stadium. The $72 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, 2017, with STEM disciplines (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) for nearly 300 boys and girls.

Late last year 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 consistent with 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.

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