Real Salt Lake enters its 15th season in Major League Soccer in 2019 and its 11th season at Rio Tinto Stadium when it kicks off on March 2. 2019 will see RSL visit this season’s expansion side, see its head coach visit old stomping grounds for the first time and close the year with a match that may very well carry playoff implications.
Here are six matches that fans should mark their calendars to attend:
Saturday, March 9 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
RSL will open the home portion of its 15th campaign in Major League Soccer against Vancouver when it kicks off against the Whitecaps at 4:00 p.m. MT. At Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL boasts a 6-1-3 record against the Whitecaps, including 2-1 victory in 2018 after a dominant 3-0 victory in 2017 in the infamous ‘Snowmagedon’ match. The match gives the RSL faithful its first glimpse of the team on home soil and could very well set the tone for home field advantage for the season.
Friday, April 19 @ FC Cincinnati
RSL’s maiden voyage to FC Cincinnati comes early in the 2019 campaign, with the expansion side playing its first season in MLS after several successful seasons in the USL Championship. Cincinnati joins MLS with the bulk of its roster carrying a successful group of players from its USL side with a mix of international and MLS talent generating a formattable side for 2019 and a tough test for the visiting RSL side.
Friday, May 24 vs. Atlanta United
RSL will welcome the defending MLS Cup champions to Utah for the first time since 2017 in what is sure to be an intriguing bout. Atlanta carries with them a high-flying offense that saw it net 50 goals in the regular season thanks in part to the MLS Golden Boot winner Josef Martinez who scored a record 31 goals in 2018. RSL will surely be looking to down the current champions on home soil having earned a Western Conference-best 11 home wins a season ago.
Saturday, June 1 @ New York Red Bulls
RSL Head Coach Mike Petke returns to Red Bull Arena for the very first time as an opposing coach in a match that will generate league-wide attention. Petke, a New Jersey native, spent the majority of his playing career with the MetroStars and the Red Bulls before being named the club’s head coach in 2013. Petke led the Red Bulls to its first major trophy in 2013 and the Eastern Conference Finals a year later before departing the side. Should RSL walk away from Red Bull Arena with the full three points on June 1, it will be just the second time the Utah side has done so in its history in Harrison, New Jersey.
Saturday, August 10 @ Sporting Kansas City
A bitter rivalry resumes as RSL visits Children’s Mercy Park, the site of RSL’s bitter 2018 playoff exit and the site of a frigid, heartbreaking December night in 2013. When these two sides clash the blood always boils as the distain for one another is evident for 90 minutes. Considered one of the most underrated rivalries in the league, RSL’s trip to Kansas will surely be one to watch in 2019.
Wednesday, September 25 vs. LA Galaxy
In its last home outing against the Galaxy, RSL landed itself in MLS history books by becoming the first club in league history to net six goals in back-to-back matches when it toppled the visitors 6-2. A Rio Tinto Stadium crowd of 21,363 witnessed RSL drub Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy in a match that helped in part, to propel RSL into the post season. In 2019, RSL faces the LA Galaxy in its second to last home match of the season in a match that may just well carry major playoff implications.