Real Salt Lake started its third week of preseason training camp on Tuesday with a journey to Hawaii for a six-day stint in Honolulu that includes two matches in the 2019 Pacific Rim Cup. With two weeks and two scrimmages under their belts, the players will now have another opportunity to build towards the team’s preseason objectives.
Head Coach Mike Petke has been outspoken about the team’s progress thus far and he is hoping that continues as RSL builds toward the MLS season opener on March 2 on the road against the Houston Dynamo.
“The goal while we are here is first and foremost to continue what we’ve done the first two weeks, which was excellent,” Petke said. “The workrate, the mentality, getting through the objectives that we need every day. There cannot be a falter. Then we’ll keep building on what we’ve done when we go to Arizona for the final push of preseason and continue into the Houston game.”
RSL is coming off of a week in snowy Utah, concluding with an intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday at the club’s training facilities at the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman. With most players extending out to 45 minutes, the fitness of the group continues to improve as the team comes together as a cohesive unit on the field.
After Brazilian midfielder Everton Luiz joined the team last week in Utah, Liberian forward Sam Johnson was introduced to his new teammates upon arrival in Hawaii. In addition, second-year forward Corey Baird returned from the U.S. National Team’s January camp in California and Arizona, where he made his international debut while notching an assist in a 3-0 win over Panama at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and followed it up with a solid showing in a 2-0 win over Costa Rica at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.
Now with two more pieces to the roster in camp, RSL will play two matches in the Pacific Rim Cup at Aloha Stadium. The first will come against Iwaki FC from Japan on Friday at 8:30 p.m. MT (5:30 p.m. HT). The second match will be on Sunday, with the time and opponent contingent on results from Friday’s matches. Along with Iwaki FC, the other two teams in the Pacific Rim Cup are V-Varen Nagasaki from Japan and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
For more information about Pacific Rim Cup, visit www.pacificrimcup.com.