Retooled Real Salt Lake To Open 2020 Campaign
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will take its revamped roster on the road for their season opener. RSL will play Orlando City SC to kick start the 2020 season.
“We’re happy with where we’re at,” said RSL head coach Freddy Juarez earlier this week. “We’ve had a good five weeks. We really haven’t seen a drop in the guys, which is really good to see as a coaching staff.”
What to know about the folks in Florida before we open up our 2020 season in the Sunshine state on Saturday 🌴 pic.twitter.com/s5IZWQAuA7
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) February 25, 2020
RSL is coming off a preseason where they certainly saw an opportunity to improve. The team went 1-2-1 in their four preseason matches, giving up four goals to the Houston Dynamo, and 3 to Phoenix Rising FC.
“You’ve just got to get better every day,” Juarez said. “Hot start, or not so hot start, we know where we always end up. We’re a team that can do it with good scenarios and bad scenarios.”
Juarez does a specific focus as his team starts a new season. “We have to make sure we’re maturing,” he said. “A lot of times in the last three years, we had players that were very young. As you mature, you learn how to manage situations when the opponent is coming at you for long periods of time, and how not to panic.”
New Look Roster
The team will take the field with a group of new faces. Exciting young players Jefferson Savarino and Sebastian Saucedo have both moved onto Mexico and Brazil, respectively. Others that saw significant minutes, such as Joao Plata and Brooks Lennon, are also playing elsewhere in 2020.
So who is in? The biggest splash the club made over the offseason was arguably bringing in former Italian national team member and European soccer mainstay Giuseppe Rossi. He’s joined by names such as Justen Meram, who has logged 243 MLS matches over his career. Also of note is 18-year-old Jeizon Ramirez, who replaces his fellow Venezuelan on the wing.
No way❗️❗️❗️😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/vbboZfhZ1v
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) February 27, 2020
However, the biggest change comes in goal. RSL legend Nick Rimando is gone. In his place, RSL will have David Ochoa, Zac MacMath and Andrew Putna. It is largely believed that MacMath will get the start in the season opener in Orlando.
Injuries and Suspensions Change Starting XIs
Three of the biggest players in Saturday’s matchup won’t be available. RSL midfielder and fan favorite Everton Luiz is serving a red card suspension stemming from RSL’s playoff loss to the Seattle Sounders to end the 2019 season.
However, both of Orlando’s star forwards, Nani and Dom Dwyer, are out. Nani is also on a suspension directly from the MLS Disciplinary Committee, and Dwyer has what is being described as a “lower body injury”.
Where To Watch
Real Salt Lake Scoreboard
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Real Salt Lake Standings