This Week in RSL History will look back at events from Utah Soccer’s past. At times this will also include a breakout “This Day in RSL History” to cover significant events, while The Week will give more of an overview of events to allow all of us a chance to say, “hey, I remember that!”
We continue with events that occurred this week over the years, Nov. 9th-15th. Do you remember any of these events?
- 2014: LAG vs. RSL - The first leg in Utah had ended in a scoreless draw, but RSL had outshot LA Galaxy 16-3. Heading to California for the second leg, RSL hoped to continue the attack and hopefully get on the scoreboard while continuing their 403 minute shutout streak.. Things did not go that direction. Landon Donovan put the ball in the net after only 10 minutes, and it only went downhill from there. Robbie Keane scored in the 20th, Donovan again in the 54th, Sarvas in the 63rd, and finally Donovan completed a hat trick in the 72nd. RSL’s only shot on goal didn’t come until the 58th minute, and LAG outshot them 19-4. In all it was a thorough dismantling of the team that had performed well during the regular season.
- 2013: RSL vs. POR - Portland Timbers had beaten RSL only once since entering the league, and that was their first meeting in early 2011. RSL had dominated ever since running up a 3-1-1 record, so going into the first leg of the playoffs vs the Timbers seemed a safe bet. Things looked a bit shaky getting started as former RSL midfielder Will Johnson (traded to the Timbers in the off-season); put the visitors ahead in the 13th minute, but it would not hold as RSL gained momentum and scored 2 goals before the half, added a third at the start of the second half, then sealed victory with a fourth in the 82nd. RSL would go to into the second leg with a two-goal advantage.
- 2018: SKC vs. RSL - The first leg in Utah had ended 1-1, but put RSL on the back leg with Albert Rusnak suspended and Corey Baird out due to injury. Coach Juarez also had made some lineup decisions that many found questionable; benching Justen Glad and Stephen Sunday in place of Nick Besler and Luke Mulholland. Sporting Kansas City pressed from the start and got the opening goal 14 minutes into the game, then doubled the lead five minutes later. RSL would have their chances, but were unable to capitalize more than twice on the SKC errors. The visitors still kept pushing into extra time before the home side put it out of reach with a fourth goal, ending RSL’s playoff run.
- 2004: Jason Kreis had spent his entire career with Dallas, and was the MLS leading goal scorer at the time. In a historic trade with Dallas Burn in exchange for two future draft picks, Kreis would become RSL’s first player.
“The confidence that coach Ellinger has in me and the organization’s desire to make me Real Salt Lake’s inaugural player is inspiring,” said Kreis.
- 2009: CHI vs. RSL - After knocking off the regular season champions, RSL went into the Conference Championship match once again the underdogs, but feeling confident. Chicago Fire had struggled defeating New England Revolution, but were playing at home after finishing second in the East. RSL started pressing hard from the start and had several chances, but the Fire held firm. The home side had their chances but couldn’t finish, and after 120 minutes neither side had broken the deadlock and it went to penalties. Chicago started strong netting their first 3, while the visitors only managed two of three. Then Nick Rimando got in his groove blocking 3 of the subsequent 4 shots. Fabian Espindola would shoot over the bar for his game winning strike, but Ned Grabavoy would slot home the winner to send RSL to the MLS Cup for the first time.
- 2008: RSL vs NYRB - RSL made their first ever appearance in the Conference Finals after defeating Chivas USA through two legs, they would get to play at home — the brand new Rio Tinto Stadium — and face an Eastern Conference team who had slipped into the playoffs as a wildcard playing in the West. New York Red Bulls had easily dispatched the Houston Dynamo, and came to Utah hoping to finally make it to the MLS Cup that had eluded them for 12 years. RSL absorbed the visitors early pressure, and had some chances; but the Red Bulls eventually unlocked the defense and found the net. RSL increased the pressure and had plenty of looks on goal, including one off the goalpost; but ultimately came up empty. The Red Bulls make their one and only MLS Cup appearance (to date) and lose to Columbus Crew.