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 Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Continues Three-Game Week on Road Wednesday at Seattle

May 28, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Real Salt Lake News Release


HERRIMAN, Utah - Real Salt Lake (8-2-5 / 29 points / 1st West) travels midweek to face Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field Wednesday night, looking to extend its first-place lead atop the MLS Western Conference and stretch its overall unbeaten run to 12 games, as a win or draw would also give Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni's team EIGHT consecutive road results. Kickoff Wednesday in Seattle is at 8:30p MT, available on Apple TV+ / MLS Season Pass, with Max Bretos and Lloyd Sam (ENG) and Jesus Acosta and Carlos Suarez (SPN) on the call.

First-place RSL continued its best start in Club history - 29 points from 15 matches (exceeding both 2016 and 2014) - with an absolute shock come-from-behind draw Saturday in Texas, rebounding from an 0-3 deficit on the road at FC Dallas with 30 minutes remaining to steal a point with a 3-3 tie. Goals in the final half-hour from Diego Luna and substitutes Anderson Julio and Nelson Palacio - his 90+8 equalizer not only his first MLS goals but also matching the latest equalizer in Club history (Justen Glad 2023 v MIN, 90+8) - completed the comeback, the first time in RSL's 629 MLS reg. season games played in its 20-year history that it was able to claw back from three goals down to secure a point. RSL now owns a record of 3-1-4 / 13 points away from home this season, last losing on the road on Feb. 21 in the MLS 2024 Season Opener in Miami.

RSL - led by Captain Chicho Arango and his 13 goals / 8 assists in 15 MLS games thus far, leading the MLS Golden Boot race - arrives in the Pacific Northwest this week riding an active 11-game unbeaten run (seven wins, four draws) dating back to March 9 at home, a stretch that has seen what had been one of Major League Soccer's staunchest defenses (six goals allowed in nine games during this run, with five clean sheets) capture four points from its last two games despite conceding another six goals. During the current MLS run, RSL has outscored opponents 25-12, scoring first in six of the 11 matches and hammering home five game-winning goals and now one equalizer in the final 15 minutes of matches.

This week's road trip precedes Saturday's home match against Austin FC, just the fourth of four America First Field matches for RSL from mid-April to mid-June, the Claret-and-Cobalt playing eight of 12 away from home during that span, including the trip to Dallas and a midweek rematch at Seattle. RSL will then enjoy a much-needed early June 8 international bye weekend prior to again traveling to Montreal and Kansas City on June 15/19 to wrap up the circuitous gauntlet prior to a June 22 home match against LA Galaxy.

One week prior to the Dallas debacle, RSL improved to 5-1-1 at home with a pair of wins, starting with 2-0 win over visiting Seattle on May 15 and another amazing comeback on May 18 in the second of three Rocky Mountain Cup tilts this year against Colorado. For just the fourth time in the Club's 629-game history, RSL rebounded from an 0-2 deficit to earn the full three points, riding 2-goal / 1-assist performances from both Arango and winger Andrés Gómez to defeat the Rapids 5-3 before a standing-room only crowd of 20,728.

Real Salt Lake @ Seattle Sounders FC - MLS Matchday 17

Lumen Field - Seattle, Washington

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - 8:30p MT

2023 Records: Real Salt Lake (14-12-8, 50 pts, 5th West MLS); Seattle Sounders FC (14-9-11, 53 pts, 2nd West MLS)

WE'RE GOING STREAKING

The active 11-game MLS unbeaten run is RSL's third-longest single-season MLS streak (2010, 14 games; and 2014, 12 games) and the Club's third-longest overall in RSL's 20-season history, matching last year's 11-game streak across three competitions, RSL also boasts a 16-game run from 2013 into 2014, and a Club-record 18-game unbeaten streak from July 2010 to April 2011 (reg. season only). For the first time ever, RSL now owns back-to-back seasons with unbeaten runs of nine games or longer. With results at Seattle / vs. Austin this week, RSL could find itself on the verge of establishing a new single-season unbeaten streak record.

Real Salt Lake's recent three-game MLS win streak - snapped May 11 at LA Galaxy with the 95th-minute concession on the last kick of the game - was the Claret-and-Cobalt's first in nearly two years. RSL last strung together three straight victories in league action in both May and March of 2022; RSL also had three such streaks in the 2019 season. However, RSL had not enjoyed a three-game win streak involving two road victories - as the recent run did - since August, 2018. How will this week's trip to Seattle rewrite the record books?

CAPTAIN CHICHO REMAINS IN GOLDEN BOOT LEAD

Saturday's stunning comeback draw in Dallas was just the fourth MLS contest this season that RSL Captain Chicho Arango failed to find the scoresheet. When he does score or assist - as he has in 11 of 15 MLS matches this year - RSL owns seven wins and three draws (May 11 brace at LA Galaxy wasted, with the Claret-and-Cobalt failing to score at Miami Feb. 24 and April 13 v. Columbus) against just one loss, with Chicho's assist on an Emeka Eneli goal back on March 9 coming in the home defeat to Colorado.

Chicho provided a three-goal explosion in a 21-minute span in the Utah side's come-from-behind 3-1 home win over St. Louis on March 30, the Club's first hat trick since September 17, 2018 (Damir Kreilach). Chicho's three-goal performance is just the seventh in RSL's now 628-game MLS history, the Colombian joining Alvaro Saborio (three hats - two in 2012, one in 2013), along with Robbie Findley (2009), Javier Morales (2014) and Kreilach. Former Captain, head coach and current Club director Jason Kreis also had a hat trick, albeit in the 2005 U.S. Open Cup.

Arango now has two hat tricks in his MLS career - his first was for LAFC in late 2021 against Dallas - and boasts 112 goals as a professional, including 56 goals in 90 games across all competitions since arriving in MLS for LAFC and RSL. Since appearing on the Wasatch Front last July, Chicho boasts 21 goals and 10 assists in 33 MLS reg. season appearances for the Claret-and-Cobalt, with those numbers increasing to 23 goals and 12 assists in 38 RSL games across all competitions (incl. Leagues Cup, Open Cup, Playoffs).

CHICHO CHASING MLS HISTORY

With a goal in Seattle on Wednesday, RSL striker Chicho Arango would become just the eighth player in MLS history to reach 50 career MLS regular-season goals in 78 games or fewer:

All-time MLS Players w/ 50 career MLS regular-season goals in 78 or fewer games:

Player, Goal #, Game #, Date

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 50, 54, 9/25/2019

Josef Martinez, 50, 54, 10/28/2018

Carlos Vela, 50, 61, 3/8/2020

Raul Diaz Arce, 51, 67, 7/4/1998

Carlos Ruiz, 50, 69, 8/21/2004

Roy Lassiter, 52, 75, 7/18/1998

Taylor Twellman, 50, 77, 4/27/2005

Chicho Arango, 49, 76, ???

With a goal in Seattle, Chicho would become the second-fastest active player to reach the milestone behind only Josef Martinez (54 games), possibly becoming just the fourth active player to reach the mark in fewer than 100 games:

Active players to reach the career 50-goal milestone in fewer than 100 career games:

Player, Goal #, Game #, Date

Josef Martinez, 50, 54, 10/28/2018

Raul Ruidiaz, 50, 79, 11/01/2021

Hany Mukhtar, 51, 93, 05/20/2023

Chicho Arango, 49, 77, ???

Chicho scored 30 of his 49 career MLS reg. season goals during the 2021 and 2022 seasons in 51 games with LAFC (0.59 goals per game, and a rate of 0.72 goals per 90), and has scored 19 in 26 games (0.73 per game, 0.82 per 90) across the last 10 months with RSL, spanning the 2023 and 2024 seasons. Chicho needs 12 more Claret-and-Cobalt goals in the remaining 19 games of the current MLS campaign to surpass his LAFC output on a volume basis, with his per-game numbers significantly better at RSL.

IRON MAN NO MORE

Two RSL players - MF Emeka Eneli (1330) and FW Chicho Arango (1321) - have played nearly every minute of the Club's 15-game MLS season so far in 2024, with second-year man substituted out Saturday in the 70th minute for the first time this season. DF Andrew Brody (1202) did not start twice this season, but has appeared in every match.

Three players have appeared in 14 league games, missing just one game this season - Anderson Julio, Braian Ojeda and Andrés Gómez - while Justen Glad, Matt Crooks, Diego Luna and Fidel Barajas have each appeared in 13 of 15 MLS contests thus far, with a heavily-congested May/June continuing this week.

TWO MONTHS AWAY FROM LEAGUES CUP OPENER: On August 1, RSL kicks off its participation in the 2024 Leagues Cup, the second year of the 47-team, 78-game tournament, with three CONCACAF Champions Cup berths on the line. RSL is grouped with a road tilt away at Houston Dynamo (MLS) on August 5, with the home opener on August 1 against Atlas CF (MEX) match at America First Field in its West 2 group, with single-elimination knockout games to follow leading up to an August 25 title match.

Based on last year's fifth-seeded West finish (14W-12L-8T, 50 points, 48 GF / 50 GA), RSL will be grouped with both Houston and Liga MX side Atlas F.C. in Leagues Cup 2024 this July ... RSL last faced Atlas in the 2022 Leagues Cup "Showcase" match in Utah, dropping a 1-2 decision despite former DF Aaron Herrera's wondergoal from 65 yards away over the retreating goalkeeper.

Due to the new for 2024 Leagues Cup seeding formula, RSL will once again travel to Houston for a group stage LC match in addition to its two MLS reg. season games against the Dynamo, with RSL now winless in its last six games against Houston - all last year - across all competitions. Prior to the active six-game streak without a win against the South Texas side, RSL had seen great success against the Dynamo, which defeated RSL for the first time in 11 games dating back to 2017 in last year's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal.


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