RSL Opens 2021 Major League Soccer Season Saturday at Minnesota United FC

HERRIMAN, Utah – (Friday, April 23, 2021) – Real Salt Lake opens its 17th season in Major League Soccer on Saturday, April 24 at Minnesota United with kickoff set for 6:00 p.m. MT. Coverage of the match will begin at 5:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live locally on KMYU and the KSL TV app, and on English radio on ESPN 700 and in Spanish on KBMG Latino 106.3 FM, La Gran D 102.3 FM and KTUB 1600 AM.

Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United FC

Allianz Field; St. Paul, Minnesota

Saturday, April 24, 2021; 6 p.m. MT

Game Notes for Saturday’s RSL @ MIN game Available Online

Those seeking the Adobe PDF version of the Game Guide in advance of Saturday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United FC can be found here. Media members looking to receive the document as an attachment or have further questions are asked to please contact Taran Meyer in the RSL Communications Department via email at tmeyer@rsl.com.

Records: Real Salt Lake 0-0-0, 0 points; Minnesota (0-1-0, 0 points)

Head-to-Head: Real Salt Lake has an all-time record of 192-194-127 good for 699 total points, with an away record of 55-142-57, 221 points, when playing on the road the team wins 22 percent of its matches, and earns a positive result in 44 percent of its matches. Saturday’s opponent, Minnesota United has an all-time record of 45-54-23 and a home record of 33-13-14. At Allianz field the Loons are victorious in 55 percent of its matches and comes away with a result in 78 percent of its games. 

Real Salt Lake has earned a 48-38-25 record since the 2017 season when Minnesota entered the league, adding up to 169 points, 11 more combined points than the Loons. However, during that time RSL has only achieved a 12-36-12 record when playing on the road. 

RSL has a 1-4-4 record against Minnesota with its only win coming at Rio Tinto Stadium back in 2017. Albert Rusnak was the last player to score against Minnesota on September 15, 2019, firing a low shot into the bottom corner of the net. 

Stories to Watch

Battle in the Midfield

Historically, matches between Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United proven to be an aggressive and gritty battle fought in the midfield and Saturday’s match is expected to be much of the same. During the last matchup Damir Kreilach, Albert Rusnak and Pablo Ruiz made up the midfield for RSL, while Hassani Dotson, Jan Gregus and Jacori Hayes took the pitch for the Loons. Saturday will likely have some of the same players in the mix with the possible additions of Everton Luiz for RSL and Osvaldo Alonso and Emanuel Reynoso for Minnesota. 

Tale of Two Goalkeepers

RSL and Minnesota have two of the youngest goalkeepers in the league in David Ochoa and Dayne St. Clair. Like Ochoa, St. Clair honed his craft at the USL Championship level, but conversely he broke into the starting lineup last year, appearing in 13 matches for the Loons between the pipes. After an injury-plagued 2020, Ochoa finally made his MLS debut in RSL’s last game of the season and has spent much of the offseason competing with the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Mexico. Should Ochoa get the nod on Saturday it will be a matchup between two of the best and brightest young goalkeepers in the country. 

Run it Back

Since joining the league in 2005, Real Salt Lake has posted a 5-2-9 record in its opening game of the season, and has not lost in the first game since 2009. Since 2015 the team has had nothing but draws in their first game of the year. Conversely, the Loons have a 2-3-0 record on opening weekend, most recently losing 4-0 to Seattle Sounders this past Saturday. Because RSL had a bye in the first week, it will face Minnesota in what is its second game of the season for which they have a 3-1-0 record. 

Connections: While there are not any direct connections between Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United, and there are zero players on either roster to have played for both teams, there are a number of players who have shared the same jersey in the past.

International Friends

Albert Rusnak and Jan Gregus both represent their home country of Slovakia on the international stage and recently played together during the 2022 World Cup Qualification matches. Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera and David Ochoa will also reunite with their fellow countryman Hassani Dotson all of whom recently competed together in the Olympic Qualifying tournament for the U-23 U.S. Soccer National Team,

Hey, I Know You

During Rubio Rubin’s first season with FC Utrecht in the Netherlands a young forward Juan Agudelo was sent on loan from Stoke City, the two combined for six goals and nine assists. At the collegiate level Herrera overlapped for two years with forward Niko Hansen at the University of New Mexico and in their final year together they helped the team earn its fourth Conference USA Tournament championship. 

Notes: Real Salt Lake Head Coach Freddy Juarez previously played in Minnesota for what was once the Minnesota Thunder in the NASL. 

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