REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake 2023 Season Preview
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake has made big moves throughout the offseason, where will RSL finish in 2023 and what should you be paying attention to?
What To Expect?
Foolishly, if you’re subject to reading the repetitive narrative of the national media, you would have already been informed that Real Salt Lake will not make the playoffs in 2023. Every year, the same pundits that work for national outlets predict Real Salt Lake to finish the season anywhere from 9th to 14th.
Real Salt Lake has made the playoffs four out of the previous five seasons. The only year Real Salt Lake failed to qualify for the playoffs was during the Covid-interrupted 2020 season that included a World Cup style tournament in Orlando, Florida in the middle of the season.
Real Salt Lake has been very competitive for a very long time. The club has enjoyed playoff success and still enjoys a home-field advantage unlike most in the league.
The 2023 roster is unlike the 2022 roster, however. Many question marks still remain regarding how impressive the 2023 Real Salt Lake team can become or will the outgoing transfers of Aaron Herrera and Sergio Córdova, two key pieces from a year ago, be too much for the Claret and Cobalt to overcome.
Surprising Offseason Moves
The decision to move on from Herrera came as a surprise to most. When playing at his best he was considered one of the premier right-backs in all of Major League Soccer. He notched a team-high 11 assists in 2021 but struggled with form and health throughout 2022. The emergence of Andrew Brody clearly played a key role in the decision to move Herrera. Ultimately, the club has decided to move forward with Brody.
Córdova occasionally looked to be the most talented player in Major League Soccer a year ago while on loan from FC Augsburg. But would also have moments where he would simply look incapable, the moment was too much for him to handle. He is tall, fast, and skillful. Córdova won the Real Salt Lake Golden Boot award in 2021 following a season that saw him bag 11 goals.
Now, Córdova finds himself as a Designated Player with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake is yet to find his replacement.
The season will likely begin with Anderson Julio as the man at the point of the attack.
The biggest news from the offseason came with the signing of Andrés Gómez. The 20-year-old broke a club record transfer fee following an impressive start to his professional career in Colombia. Gómez will be available for selection to begin the 2023 campaign this upcoming weekend.
The other acquisition that made headlines near and far came on February 13 when the club signed Colombian international Brayan Vera. The left-back will join the team in Utah prior to the March 11 home opener.
It remains unknown if Real Salt Lake improved its roster this offseason. The production of Gómez and Vera will play a pivotal role in answering that question.
The return of Damir Kreilach is highly anticipated and welcomed. The club has been desperate for his leadership on the pitch and his unique ability to score big goals in big games.
Expected Best XI (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Zac MacMath
Defenders: Andrew Brody, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Brayan Vera
Midfielders: Braian Ojeda, Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach
Forwards: Andrés Gómez, Anderson Julio, Jefferson Savarino
Real Salt Lake opens its 2023 MLS season with a road date against Vancouver FC this Saturday, February 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast via the Apple TV season pass.
The KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM & 1280 AM) will boast the radio broadcast for all fixtures throughout the 2023 season.
Real Salt Lake Scoreboard
Real Salt Lake Team Leaders
Real Salt Lake Standings