There are a lot of things that I consider before I go on a vacation: How close is the stadium to the hotel or Airbnb? How close is it to the airport? How close is it to downtown? What else can I do here? And so on. I am not implying that those are the only questions, but they are the first ones.
Going on an away trip is a huge jump in anyone’s fandom career. I wrote about this last year, and it seems like several people took the advice to heart. We had some great showings in Colorado, Portland, LA, and even had a few good eggs in other places. So, let’s give it another shot. These are the five games you should try to make in 2018.
Disclaimer: There is absolutely no bad trip to make this season. Every single one is a good one. These five stood out for different reasons and that’s why they were picked, but all away games are created equal.
5. Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, May 26
I would normally recommend staying away from Seattle. Their fans are annoying, their pitch is turf, we rarely do well against them up there, and ever since my favorite food place there closed, I just don’t even kind of want to make the trip. But, this is a great one for families for several reasons. It comes right around Memorial Day weekend, and just before the official start of summer (when most people will likely be asking for time off, making it more competitive). It’s a quick and beautiful drive, and they just lost the MLS Cup. So, you know, remind them of that.
4. Columbus Crew SC vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, June 30
RSL Soapbox crew recently published an article in support of the Crew, and so many people have been vocal about it, but I think we all know that the League’s silence on the issue paired with MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s comments about it during the MLS Cup, is a sure sign of the writing on the wall. This will likely be the last chance to see the Columbus Crew play in their stadium, and it might be worth it to make the trip.
3. Los Angeles FC vs. Real Salt Lake: Wednesday, August 15
I will always recommend making a trip to LA. Always. Especially for families, because their fans pretty much keep to themselves, it’s a hop away from Disneyland and Universal Studios, and it’s always a fun game. This year, I will opt out of recommending the Galaxy match and June for this one in August. One of the reasons for that is because this will be right around the time LAFC’s stadium opens, and that thing looks Gorgeous! I’d love to see it up close, and I am sure it’d be more fun to do so with 100+ other fans, like last year. This game is smack before most schools start again, making it hard on teachers like me, but great on families with kids. One last hoorah before closing the summer doors. We’ll likely be on the heels of a new Summer Transfer signing, and surely battling these guys for a playoff position. Who knows, you may even run into a couple of guys you know.
2. Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake: Sunday, October 21st
Decision Day. Portland. Blue Star Donuts. Cannon Beach. Multnomah Falls. Providence Park expansion. Nicest fans on earth. 100+ of our own fans pushing our team to victory and a good Playoff position. Go to Portland, love Portland, embrace Portland. These kinds of games are what the beautiful game is all about. These are the moments that we live for. I know it’s Sunday, but this is right after UEA Break for the kids and Fall Break for most college students. Head up Thursday or Friday (whenever the first day off is) and soak up the Pacific Northwest and Cascadia. Note: This picture was taken in Vancouver, another trip you should try to make.
1. FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, March 3
There is nothing worse to me than the idea of going to Texas. I’m sorry to those of you from Texas, but literally nothing sounds worse than being anywhere in that state. The humidity alone is enough to make me want to say no, the ass-kicking they gave us last year makes me run for the hills. But. This is the first game of the season, and it’s March. If there is ever a time to go to Texas, this is it. It comes right before Spring Break for most colleges, but it doesn’t matter because nobody will want to stay longer than the weekend. And since many of us are going through off-season withdrawals, it may be worth going.
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, August 25
We play them twice before this, so it’d be amazing to wave that Rocky Mountain Cup in the faces of their 20 fans.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, July 28
I loved San Jose, and I would love to go back. It’s a quick weekend trip in the middle of two RSL home games making it a nice few weeks in the dog days of summer.
Atlanta United FC vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, September 22
I hate Atlanta and their arrogant fans. That stadium though… Mmm.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake: Sunday, September 30th
Minnesota United FC vs. Real Salt Lake: Saturday, July 14
The Twin Cities, Prince, Mall of America. This would make for a very fun weekend getaway.