Real Salt Lake's season starts in a few scant weeks, so now's a perfect time to navigate the schedule and pick some matches you absolutely have to see — if you're not in a position to see them all, of course.
Wondering which matches you should triple-check you're going to? Here's our top five matches you shouldn't miss.
March 2, RSL vs. Tigres (not March 3, as it previously said here)
It doesn't get bigger than this right now — but the thing about this match is that it holds the promise of a bigger match in its grasp. Defeat Tigres on aggregate, and Real Salt Lake is suddenly in the quarterfinal of the biggest regional tournament. You know — the one in which they reached the final and quite tragically lost? Yeah, that one.
Tigres is one of the best teams in the region at current, and this makes this one exciting for all the right reasons. It also makes it terrifying, but really, what are you supposed to do about that? This will try our patience and our nerves, but it's a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. This will be a fun one. I hope.
Real Salt Lake's MLS home opener is against Seattle ten days after this one, but let's be honest about which match is bigger and more important.
April 9, RSL vs. Colorado Rapids
They're our rivals, aren't they? That's the only reason we really need to make this a must-see, but it's also our opportunity to make a clear statement. The Rapids have had their fair share of probably-very-good signings this offseason, and that gives us an opportunity to humble them a bit. We do love doing that, don't we?
June 18, RSL vs. Portland
This will be the first home match for the team in over a month — and there'll be a brand new field for it to take place on. The energy should be high, with fans aching to get back to the stadium, and the opponent is one RSL fans will have fond memories of beating over and over and over in 2013. Clearly, 2015 was different, and Portland ended up winning MLS Cup. Smashing this team we love to hate would do wonders for our morale as supporters.
September 7, RSL vs. LA Galaxy
Matches against that team in Southern California are always fun and exciting, and this one comes at a perfect time. It's late enough in the season that we're starting to look at the standings more seriously, but it's also early enough that a big win could knock back our metropolitan rivals.
October 16, RSL vs. Sporting Kansas City
The last home match of the regular season will hopefully not be the last of the season overall (missing the playoffs again would be a travesty), but the irrational fear of that doesn't diminish this one from the outset. SKC is a team with which Real Salt Lake has had their fair share of dust-ups, and this one could very well feature some of the same.
That alone doesn't make it exciting — it's also about a chance to make a statement heading into the post-season (knock on wood, right?) that we belong there once again.