REAL SALT LAKE

Utah Jazz Players Join Real Salt Lake For Joint Training Session

Sep 21, 2022, 2:28 PM
Jared-Butler-Utah-Jazz-Real-Salt-Lake-Training-Session...
Jared Butler of the Utah Jazz speaks in front of the group at the joint training session between the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake. (Photo by Utah Jazz/Real Salt Lake)
(Photo by Utah Jazz/Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz players joined Real Salt Lake at America First Field to participate in a joint training session ahead of Real Salt Lake’s friendly against LIGA MX side Atlas.

An RSL representative confirmed to KSL Sports how the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake training session occurred. KSL Sports has learned that Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy reached out to RSL President John Kimball who then connected Hardy with RSL manager Pablo Mastroeni. RSL and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith has played a key role in connecting the two organizations.

“They reached out a while back and wanted to connect the two teams, they’re about to start training camp, and I just thought it was a good idea from our side to break things up. Obviously, when you are in the grind there is not a lot of reprieve, it is game to game, it is very focused, and I thought today it was great to integrate the Jazz into some of our physical work, technical work, and then to end with a penalty shootout,” Mastroeni told the media following Wednesday’s training session.

Interestingly, Mastroeni also stated that today’s joint session is the start of an exciting partnership between the two organizations as the Utah Jazz will invite Real Salt Lake to a training session of their own at the Utah Jazz Zions Bank Training Campus.

Atlas Friendly Preview

Real Salt Lake is undermanned heading into the friendly as a total of six players are currently traveling with their respective national teams for international friendlies.

Jefferson Savarino and Sergio Córdova are with Venezuala, Braian Ojeda is with Paraguay, Bryan Oviedo with Costa Rica, Rubio Rubin with Guatemala, and Diego Luna will represent the United States U-20 team.

Furthermore, the RSL roster was cut down from 23 to 19 following a small COVID outbreak. Three players tested positive for the virus while one unnamed player is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Nevertheless, the club is still excited about the opportunity to take on the LIGA MX champions Atlas on their home soil. The plan prior to the COVID outbreak was to play a large handful of Real Monarchs players and first-team players who have not received many minutes as of late, that plan remains despite the outbreak and injury issues the club is dealing with.

Teenage sensations Axel Kei, Jude Wellings, and Gennaro Nigro will all be called into first team duties ahead of the friendly. Other names expected to see big minutes include Nick Besler, Tate Schmitt, Danny Musovski and Bode Hidalgo.

RSL vs. Atlas Match Info

Real Salt Lake and Atlas will play at America First Field on Thursday, September 22 with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m.

Following a heartbreaking second half of the season for Real Salt Lake, the fixture against Atlas will provide the club with an opportunity to measure itself against a LIGA MX side. However, it appears unlikely that manager Pablo Mastroeni will play a full-strength side.

Rather, with just two regular season games remaining following the friendly against Atlas, the club will likely need to win both and therefore rest for key contributors to the roster will likely occur against Atlas.

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