REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake Opens Season With Road Date Against Vancouver

Feb 24, 2023, 2:38 PM | Updated: Feb 25, 2023, 8:31 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake will open its 2023 MLS season with a road trip to Vancouver, Canada, this upcoming Saturday evening.

Unknown Questions To Be Answered Shortly

As is often the case with season openers, a lot of unknown questions remain unanswered for Real Salt Lake entering the 2023 season. How will the losses of Aaron Herrera, Sergio Córdova, and Bobby Wood impact results? Will Andrés Gómez live up to the expectation? How does Brayan Vera fit into the starting XI? Will Damir Kreilach overcome his injury and return to the form that granted him an MLS All-Star appearance?

All of those questions and others will begin to answer themselves this weekend as Real Salt Lake travels north for an opening MLS regular season game against the Vancouver Whitecaps at B.C. Place.

Gómez will be available for selection while Vera will not. Vera is expected to join the team prior to the club’s home opener against Austin FC on March 11, according to a club statement.

Real Salt Lake enters the opening fixture in relatively good health. Zack Farnsworth and Axel Kei are out with thigh and ankle injuries respectively while Rubio Rubin is suspended following his second-half red card against Austin FC in the opening round of last year’s MLS playoffs.

The absence of Rubin and Kei suggests that manager Pablo Mastroeni will likely rely on the likes of Anderson Julio to solidify himself at the point of the attack this weekend. Julio, a natural winger, has endured a lot of minutes in the Claret and Cobalt as a central attacking option under Mastroeni, and with the abundance of wingers on the roster it is likely that Julio plays most of his football in 2023 at the point of the attack.

Difficult Opening Road Test Awaits

The opening match will be a test for Real Salt Lake given that it is a road game. Whitecaps manager Vanni Sartini boasts a strong record at home since taking over managerial duties in August of 2021. In 2022, Vancouver concluded the season with a 10-4-3 home record.

Furthermore, Real Salt Lake will be tasked with stopping Sergio Córdova, last year’s Real Salt Lake Golden Boot award winner. However, it remains unknown if Córdova will be available for the Whitecaps after enduring just three training sessions with his new club. Córdova was signed as a designated player for Vancouver on February 20.

Last year was Sartini’s first full season at the helm for Vancouver. The Whitecaps struggled mightily early losing six of their opening eight games but went on a run later in the season and ended up missing the postseason by just one game.

Furthermore, Real Salt Lake conceded goals in all but two of their road fixtures in 2022 and have lost their two previous visits to Vancouver by a combined score of 6-2. Real Salt Lake’s last victory at B.C. Place came in 2021 when they managed to defeat Vancouver 4-0.

Real Salt Lake and Vancouver will kickoff at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast via Apple TV. Every MLS match in 2022 will be broadcast via Apple TV, there will no longer be any local broadcast available for local fans.

Real Salt Lake fans will also be able to listen to the game via The KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM & 1280 AM) with David James and Jay Nolly on the call.

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