The 2020 preseason is nearly over as Real Salt Lake gets set to face Phoenix Rising FC of the USL Championship on Saturday at Casino Arizona Field in Scottsdale, Arizona. The match will be the culmination of a five-week preseason as the team prepared and laid the foundation for its 16th season in Major League Soccer.
“It’s been a great first month and a half of preseason,” RSL Assistant Coach Steffen Siebert said after Friday’s training. “I’m excited to be here and all of the players and the staff have worked hard to get to where we are right now.”
The team took the training pitch on Friday and was not fazed by the gusty winds and dark clouds that covered Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. Friday’s training was the first outdoor training during the entirety of the 2020 preseason in which the team didn’t see the sun shining during one of its training sessions. Despite the less than ideal weather, the group was anxious and hungry to prepare for its final tune-up ahead of the regular season opener on February 29.
“The key for Saturday’s match is to put everything we’ve worked on during the preseason together during the match,” Siebert said. “Over the last five weeks we’ve looked sharp and each week we’ve had a different focus on the field. So, now with all of our principals in place it’s time to go put it all together and try to get a good result on Saturday.”
RSL and Rising FC have faced one another on one previous occasion during the 2019 Visit Tucson Sun Cup, a match that saw RSL claim a comfortable 4-1 victory after an early goal from the hosts. Phoenix is coming off a preseason win over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday as a late-second half strike from Rising FC secured a 2-1 victory.
“We’ve checked a lot of boxes during this preseason. We identified and implemented our style of play and the way we want to look,” Siebert explained. “Facing Phoenix in the final match is always a great game to play. They’ve played MLS teams so they provided good competition so it’ll be a valuable experience for the guys.”
After Saturday’s match, RSL will return to Utah for its first week of regular season training as the club prepares to visit Orlando City SC on Saturday, February 29. Saturday’s match against Phoenix Rising FC can be seen LIVE here.