REAL SALT LAKE

Jasper Löffelsend Lifts Real Salt Lake To Halftime Lead Over San Jose

Apr 22, 2023, 8:31 PM

SANDY – Defender Jasper Löffelsend scored his first goal of the 2023 Major League Soccer season to give Real Salt Lake a 1-0 halftime lead over the San Jose Earthquakes.

RSL hosted San Jose at America First Field in Sandy, Utah on Saturday, April 22.

During the 39th minute of action, Löffelsend & Co. sprinted down the field against the visiting ‘Quakes.

The defender received a pass from Danny Musovski and completed the fast break with a shot into the back of the net.

Löffelsend’s strike was his first this season and gave Real Salt Lake a 1-0 lead. The home side took the one-goal advantage into the locker room at halftime.

The Pittsburgh Panthers product entered the match having recorded three shots and two shots on goal in six appearances this season. Prior to his goal against San Jose, Löffelsend had posted one goal, five assists, 16 shots, and three shots on targets during his time with RSL.

Real Salt Lake’s match against San Jose is broadcast on Apple TV+ via MLS Season Pass and KSL Sports Zone.

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose

The fixture holds a greater level of importance than those within the club and its fanbase would like at this time of the year. Throughout the opening seven games of the season, Real Salt Lake has only managed two victories while suffering five losses. The club is yet to record a draw in 2023. As a result, Real Salt Lake is positioned 12th in the Western Conference standings and slowly moving in the opposite direction.

Their opponents, San Jose, are currently sitting comfortably in the fifth position after their opening eight games of the new calendar year. They most recently defeated Sporting Kansas City at home 3-0 to extend their unbeaten run to four games.

“I think that they are a really dynamic team, especially up front,” manager Pablo Mastroeni told the media following Friday’s training session. “Especially their front four with Montero. They pose a real threat in and out of possession. They pose a real threat on the counter and they make plays. Individually they create opportunities for themselves and as a collective, they play really well,” he added.

The challenge for Real Salt Lake grows as the club has three games awaiting them over the next seven days. Following the San Jose fixture, Real Salt Lake will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for a third-round U.S. Open bout with the Las Vegas Lights of the USL Championship.

RELATED: Real Salt Lake Welcomes San Jose To America First Field 

The injury report is working in favor of Real Salt Lake. Captain Damir Kreilach has been moved from questionable to probable following his issues with a groin injury. Kreilach is joined by Erik Holt who has been struggling with an Achilles injury. Unfortunately, Andrew Brody, who last week was listed as probable has been since downgraded to questionable as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

“You do not realize how important a player is until he is not there,” Mastroeni said while speaking on the importance of Andrew Brody to the side. “His experience in the three years that he has been a part of this group, his dependability defensively, his soccer acumen to break teams down with his dribbling ability,” Mastroeni noted on why Brody is such an important figure.

Nevertheless, Bode Hidalgo is the likely replacement for Brody. Hidalgo burst onto the scene a year ago after being called up from the Real Monarchs and performed admirably during his minutes in 2022. However, in 2023 he has shown that he is still learning about the speed at which MLS is played at. Mastroeni spoke on the need for Hidalgo to better himself as it relates to understanding where he is going to pass the ball prior to him receiving it while also having the confidence to take opponents on and look to beat them on the dribble.

The upcoming fixture against San Jose holds significant importance for Real Salt Lake as it attempts to crawl back up the Western Conference.

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Jasper Löffelsend Lifts Real Salt Lake To Halftime Lead Over San Jose