Newly Acquired Stars Shine For Real Salt Lake

Oct 10, 2022, 4:05 PM
Braian Ojeda dribbles for Real Salt Lake at America First Field against Portland Timbers on Decision Day. (Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)
(Photo by Laura Dearden/Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – Recently signed Real Salt Lake duo Bryan Oviedo and Braian Ojeda have quickly become two of the more pivotal players on the RSL roster.

This past weekend, both Oviedo, 32, and Ojeda, 22, were arguably the best players on the pitch against Portland. Real Salt Lake relied heavily on both players to ensure all three points and subsequently a playoff position.

Real Salt Lake waited until the final days of the summer transfer window before making any player additions, much to the frustration of the fanbase and club. Over recent weeks, Mastroeni has reiterated the difficulty of integrating players late in the season.

However, as difficult as it may be, Mastroeni, the coaching staff, and the playing group has seemingly integrated Ojeda and Oviedo perfectly into the mix. As expected, when the club announced the arrivals of Ojeda and Oviedo it took time for the playing group to adjust. Both Ojeda and Oviedo not only were required to learn a new system quickly but were also tasked with finding the appropriate fitness level.

An Impressive Transition

Fast forward to today and both Ojeda and Oviedo are two of the most capable players on the Real Salt Lake roster.

Against Portland, Ojeda dominated the midfield showcasing his dribbling, passing, and defending ability. Oviedo, who started at left-back, dominated the left side of the formation and was credited with two assists.

Remarkably, Oviedo is scheduled to travel with Costa Rica to Qatar in November for the upcoming World Cup. He has consistently started and contributed throughout the qualification process for his country. Ojeda was perched on loan with an option to buy, it is likely that Ojeda will be purchased by Real Salt Lake following the conclusion of the 2022 MLS season pending his fee.

The additions of both Oviedo and Ojeda to Real Salt Lake not only helped the club secure a playoff position on Decision Day, but the duo will also likely play significant roles if Real Salt Lake is able to make a run at the MLS Cup.

Interestingly, Mastroeni’s decision to start Oviedo at left back became easier when Aaron Herrera injured his left calf leading into the Decision Day clash with Portland. KSL Sports has learned that Herrera will return to training this week and will push for selection ahead of the opening-round playoff clash against Austin FC.

Will Mastroeni opt to bring Herrera back into the starting XI against Austin if he is healthy? Or will he ultimately choose to start the same backline that worked so efficiently against Portland last weekend?

Real Salt Lake Vs. Austin Match Info

Real Salt Lake and Austin will kick off from Q2 Stadium on Sunday, October 16, at 1 p.m.

The match will be broadcast via ABC.

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