Real Salt Lake Host Seattle Sounders In Highly Anticipated 2022 Home Opener

Mar 4, 2022, 4:42 PM
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake will host, or the first time this season, the Seattle Sounders in front of an expected full capacity crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The fixture marks the home opener for Real Salt Lake and the second game of the season for both clubs. Real Salt Lake enters the contest having picked up a scoreless point on the road against Dallas while Seattle fell 1-0 to Nashville SC at home in a shock result.

The Stealing Sounders

The tension and excitement from the Real Salt Lake players and fanbase is palpable. The return of last year’s captain, Albert Rusnák, has attracted the interest of many sports fans across the state and the club is expected to sell out Rio Tinto Stadium to kickstart proceedings in 2022.

Rusnák and Real Salt Lake failed to come to a new agreement earlier this year following the conclusion of his contract at the end of the 2021 season. Therefore, Rusnák decided it was in his best interest to sign with Seattle, a club that has plucked Real Salt Lake talent away from its grasp on countless occasions to this point.

Prior to Rusnák joining the Sounders it was last year’s manager Freddy Juarez. The year before that former Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel joined Seattle’s front office and many years before that legendary Real Salt Lake icon Garth Lagerway joined the Sounders and is currently acting as their General Manager and President of Soccer Operations.

For the Real Salt Lake faithful, any match against the Sounders is now personal. However, the staff and players are not giving in to the hysteria surrounding the two teams.

“I feel like I should feel that too, and I don’t,” Pablo Mastroeni when asked about the history of Seattle signing former RSL executives, coaches, and players. “I think that is because we only focus on ourselves and how we are going to get better and how we are going to be the team that everyone talks about because we are playing the type of football that is good to watch and it is getting results.”

“We Know No Other Way”

Sadly, Real Salt Lake will be subject to a depleted roster again. Aaron Herrera, who missed the opening game of the season with a red card suspension following last year’s dismissal in the Western Conference Final, is listed as out as he returns from hamstring and groin injuries. Nick Besler, Rubio Rubin, David Ochoa, and Zack Farnsworth are all listed as out while captain Damir Kreilach is listed as questionable.

It appears, with or without the services of Kreilach, that Real Salt Lake will inevitably enter the home opener in a depleted way.

However, that will not force or stop Real Salt Lake from playing a certain attacking style, as Mastroeni explained following training on Friday.

“I do not know any other way. That is why I talk about mindset because if you think about it in the terms that you [the reporter] are speaking about it from you do not have a chance. What I told the guys before the game is that if you believe or if you don’t believe you’re right. You will lead yourself to that conclusion every time,” Mastroeni stated.

Fortunately, Seattle will also be a little bruised. Star striker Raúl Ruidíaz has been listed as unavailable by manager Brian Schmetzer. Seattle still poses as one of the more formidable attacking threats despite the absence of Ruidíaz. Nicolás Lodeiro, Albert Rusnák, Jordan Morris, Fredy Montero, Cristian Roldan, and João Paulo are all capable of flipping a game on its head through their dynamic attacking ability.

It will be a tall task for Real Salt Lake as they look to open their home account with a much-desired result. A packed Rio Tinto Stadium may be the difference in determining point(s) for Real Salt Lake against Seattle in the home opener.

Match Info

Real Salt Lake and Seattle will kickoff from Rio Tinto Stadium at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, marking the first home game in 2022.

The fixture will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports & KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

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