Real Salt Lake has had many highs and low in its thirteen-year history, many of them unexpected. These highs and lows are felt acutely by Real Salt Lake fans, whether it be a sense of pride after a magnificent victory or helplessness from an unexpected loss. The five moments selected are by no means the only moments better left forgotten. They do, however, encompass many of the lows experienced by Real Salt Lake.
Worst Comeback Loss - DC United, 2015
Real Salt Lake has had a few devastating comeback losses. Being up 3-1 and watching Cruz Azul score four goals in twelve minutes in our second 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League match is one of them. However, it is the bizarre yet entertaining loss to DC United 6-4 in 2015 that now holds the title. Getting on the board in the 65th second and being up 2-0 by the 22nd minute was not enough to take home the three points. The worst part of watching DC United come back, take the lead, and go on to win, was watching Alvaro Saborio help them do it. Having traded him to DC United in the summer transfer window, it was his first time playing against RSL since leaving the club. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound.
Worst Loss - San Jose Earthquake, 2012
Losing 5-0 is certainly something not easily forgotten. Though this is not the worst loss Real Salt Lake has suffered (that goes to the 6-0 loss to NYRB in 2006) it is the most recent. The loss in 2006 can also be easily understood since it was during our second season as a club. The loss to San Jose was both painful and demoralizing. After a red card was given to Kyle Beckerman in the 57th minute, Chris Wondolowski, who was the golden boot winner of 2010 and 2011, scored a hat trick and the team cruised to a 5-0 victory.
Worst Injury - Javier Morales, 2011
No one who saw either live or from video replay can forget the season ending injury of Javier Morales. Just five games into the season, Morales was tackled from behind and fractured his left tibia and fibula, dislocated his ankle, and suffered torn ligaments.
It was a gruesome spectacle that left all who attended stunned. Watching the stretcher come out and Morales being wheeled off the pitch left a sinking feeling in the stomach and worry for the rest of the season.
Worst Season - Missing The Playoffs, 2015
Though there were a lot of changes for Real Salt Lake in 2015, not making the playoffs was still inconceivable. Even with moving to a 4-3-3, an early season injury to Plata, losing Borchers, and tons of injuries, the RSL faithful still expected a postseason. Then, as the losses mounted and all the issues mentioned above came to be, that expectation turned to a hope and then a fantasy. After making the playoffs for seven consecutive years, Real Salt Lake fans suddenly had nothing to do that winter.
Worst Moment - Sporting KC, 2013 MLS Cup Final
This was the most bitter sweet moment I have ever experienced as a Real Salt Lake fan. After a fantastic season, making it to the finals in the Open Cup and finishing 2nd in the Western Conference, this was our year. We did well in the post season, even dominating Portland with a 5-2 aggregate in the Western Conference finals.
The final match was exciting and tense, with five yellow cards shown, a goal a piece, and three of our chances clanging off the post or crossbar. Neither side was able to break the deadlock and the game went to penalties. Having won the 2009 MLS cup on penalties and with “The Wall of the Wasatch” Nick Rimando in goal, this appeared a familiar scene. The penalty shootout went back and forth going to the tenth player on each side. It ended with a miss by Palmer and the cup slipping from our grasp. With hopes soaring so high for a second MLS cup, it was inevitable to experience such bitter sadness at watching it slip away.
Going through moments like those listed above are part of being a soccer fan. They make those moments of victory all the sweeter. As fans of Real Salt Lake, we have taken the bad with the good, and we never stop believing.