Real Salt Lake Visits Vegas For U.S. Open Third Round Clash

Apr 26, 2023, 2:34 PM


Damir Kreilach after giving Real Salt Lake their first lead of the 2023 season. (Photo courtesy of Real Salt Lake)

(Photo courtesy of Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake has traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for a U.S. Open third-round clash with the Las Vegas Lights of the USL Championship.

The fixture will mark the second of three games this week alone. Last weekend, Real Salt Lake picked up all three points against the in-form San Jose Earthquakes at America First Field with an emphatic 3-1 victory. The club will look to extend the winning streak to two this evening when it visits a lesser Las Vegas Lights team.

Recently, the U.S. Open competition has proved troublesome for Real Salt Lake. Last year RSL hosted Northern Colorado Hailstorm and suffered a 1-0 defeat at home, much to the frustration of the fanbase. During that fixture, manager Pablo Mastroeni opted to rest most of his preferred starting XI. That decision resulted in one of the more embarrassing defeats in club history and catalyzed a disappointing second half of the MLS season.

Real Salt Lake Player Availability

This year, Mastroeni has publically stated that he and the club are taking the U.S. Open seriously and has alluded to playing a strong starting XI this evening against Las Vegas.

Last weekend Real Salt Lake suffered multiple injuries. Most notably, Anderson Julio suffered yet another soft tissue injury to his thigh and is unavailable for this evening. Bryan Vera was substituted in the first half with a hip contusion and is listed as questionable. Captain Damir Kreilach returned to the bench following a groin injury that kept him sidelined for multiple weeks but was not used by Mastroeni. He is available for selection this evening.

However, the midweek fixture complicates future MLS endeavors. In three days, Real Salt Lake will return back to America First Field and host the in-form Seattle Sounders. Mastroeni has confirmed that his approach to the busy schedule will be handled on a match-to-match basis. Those that are fit and available for selection will be selected.

Since 2016, Real Salt Lake has not won a U.S. Open Cup game at home. The recent struggles for Real Salt Lake have come as a result of not taking the tournament seriously. This has frustrated many considering the U.S. Open competition is considered by many to be the simplest way of securing a CONCACAF Champions League spot.

Despite recent struggles, RSL has finished twice in the semifinals of the competition. In 2013 and 2015 Real Salt Lake went on deep runs in the competition but failed to make it to the final.

Real Salt Lake is one of 18 MLS teams to be drawn in the U.S. Open third round, the remaining seven U.S.-based clubs received exemptions into the fourth round. The seeding was based on last year’s MLS regular season standings which Real Salt Lake finished the regular season in eighth.

Real Salt Lake and Las Vegas will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be available to stream via the KSL Sports app. For those interested in listening to the radio broadcast, it will be available via the KSL Sports Zone on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM. KSL Sports is the only local media outlet broadcasting the U.S. Open fixtures.

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Real Salt Lake Visits Vegas For U.S. Open Third Round Clash