Real Salt Lake's season is coming up fast, and if you're like a lot of us, you're probably eyeing some away trips. Yesterday, we talked about five home matches you shouldn't miss — today, we've got five away matches you should consider attending.
March 19, Portland Timbers
Portland's a cool city, I guess, but the real reason you'll want to attend this one is to watch Real Salt Lake seek some revenge for the wrongs of yesteryear. They had Nat Borchers — I'm blocking that late goal from my memory — and now they have former RSL man Ned Grabavoy on their books. That alone makes it fun.
Further, everyone likes to talk about the Timbers Army, and it's one of those things you should see if you get a chance. That's not to say they're better fans or anything close to that, but rather that they are well-organized, and that's an admirable quality. But also, they sometimes don't sound as loud in person as they do on TV, so that always makes for some fun talking points.
The big downside? If you go as an away fan, they'll put you in the upper corner of the stadium, and the players look very, very small.
The big upside? This is a popular destination for supporters, and away matches with people you know and side with are fantastic.
October 23, Seattle Sounders
The big reason this one's worth going to is that it's the final game of the season — but it's also worth taking a trip to Seattle, too. Say what you will about them inventing everything, but this is still a nice city to visit.
But it's more than just visiting — Sounders are more or less our next-big-rival at this point (or at least they were — we'll see how it plays out), and there's nothing quite like seeing a heated match between two good opponents.
The caveat: If Real Salt Lake isn't good this year, it'll probably be less than fun to partake in. But if you're with the right group, away losses are bearable — if only just.
April 2, Sporting KC (alternately, May 21)
If you're not too emotionally scarred to head to Kansas City, it's a good away trip — that's a big if. You could truly see the sights here — like where RSL missed the last penalty in the 2013 MLS Cup. And where a substantial group of RSL supporters really made their voices heard on national TV.
On second thought, it's probably not worth stirring up those memories. But everyone says the barbecue is nice, so what do I know?
June 2, New York City FC
This is the big East Coast opportunity this year — RSL hosts DC United, New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution in 2016. If you're not willing to hop the border and hit up Toronto in August or Philadelphia on July 31, this is your chance. Sure, there's no big rivalry this year, but they're now one of the "big players" — or payers, if you wish — and that makes it exciting when you win. Also, something about Pirlo and corners. Yeah.
July 13, Vancouver Whitecaps
I'll be honest: I've never been to Canada. Everyone talks about Vancouver as this particularly great city, though, and if you're so inclined, it makes for a good Pacific Northwest trip, I'm sure. Will Real Salt Lake finally do well in Canada? Well, I don't know, but here's hoping.
Honorable mention: May 7, Colorado Rapids
As a Real Salt Lake fan, a trip to Colorado for a Rocky Mountain Cup match is sort of a rite of passage. But it's also often miserable there — the stadium's shoddy, the opposing support is more or less nonexistent, and the team has been awful. Maybe it'll be different this year.