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Real Salt Lake Kicks off 2018 Home Opener Saturday Afternoon v. LAFC

March 9, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Real Salt Lake News Release

SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake opens the home portion of its 14th Major League Soccer campaign with a 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday afternoon kickoff against expansion side LAFC.

Limited seating locations remain; please visit or call 844.Real.Tix now to access individual seats for Saturday's opener, starting at $25 and up depending on location, in the heavily-anticipated kickoff; 2018 RSL Season Tickets and Flex Vouchers remain on sale, along with 2018 RSL "mini-packs."

RSL kicks off Saturday's match unbeaten in all nine of its previous MLS home regular-season openers at Rio Tinto Stadium (4-0-5, win-loss-draw). RSL Head Coach Mike Petke - now entering his first full year at the helm - led his team to a 9-3-3 mark at home last season, a stretch which includes an active eight-game unbeaten run and five consecutive wins on Utah soil entering Saturday.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake v. LAFC - Sat., March 10, 2018

Coverage Begins: 1:30 p.m. MT

Local TV: KMYU - David James & Brian Dunseth w/ Rebecca Cade

National TV: Univision MLS Game of the Week

Digital Streaming: KSL TV app

English Radio: ESPN 700 AM (1:00 p.m. MT) - Bill Riley & Jay Nolly w/ Tom Hackett & Spencer Warne (pre-/post-game)

Spanish Radio: 104.7 /107.1 FM - Fernando Hortal, German Hortal & Carlos Artiles

RSL's return home against LAFC Saturday launches a run of three out of its next four games at home, prior to a 6-week stretch from April 11 to May 26 that sees RSL play five of seven games away. At the world-class Utah venue affectionately known as "The RioT," RSL has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage since building its permanent home in Sandy, boasting a dominant 105-26-44 mark in the world-class venue since opening in October, 2008.

RSL kicked off 2018 with a 1-1 draw last week in Dallas - FW Joao Plata assisted by MF Albert Rusnák - extending the momentum that saw Petke's side post an 8-3-4 mark after July 1 last year to ultimately finishing one point shy of the MLS Cup Playoffs. With last week's result, RSL is now unbeaten in 13 of its last 16 games overall.

FW Luis Silva scored in the final game last year to move into a four-way tie for the 2017 RSL "Golden Boot" with Rusnák, Plata and former FW Yura Movsisyan, each with seven goals. Rusnák led MLS with 12 primary assists last year, while his season total of 14 set a new standard as the second-highest single-season total in club history (surpassing the 12 set in 2016 by Plata and 2014 by Javier Morales) - just one helper shy of matching Morales' club-record 15 assists in 2008.

Real Salt Lake returns a 20-player core amongst the 30-man roster for its 2018 campaign, entering the club's first full year under Petke and staff. International playmaker Rusnák (Slovakia) and wingers Plata (Ecuador) and Jefferson Savarino (Venezuela) each sparked the club's late-season attack last year, while the quintet of USA U-20 CONCACAF Champions - DF Justen Glad, DF Danny Acosta, FW Brooks Lennon, MF Sebastian Saucedo and 2018 signing DF Aaron Herrera, all RSL Academy products - are joined by fellow homegrowns Jordan Allen, Jose Hernandez and Corey Baird.

Veterans returning for 2018 include DF Marcelo Silva, who joined the club in August; 11-year icon Tony Beltran, fifth-year MF Luke Mulholland, third-year MF Sunday Stephen, and experienced Major League Soccer players in L. Silva and DF David Horst. Joining that group are a trio of players who matriculated to the first team from the 2017 USL regular-season champion Real Monarchs: MF Nick Besler, GK Connor Sparrow and a Salt Lake City native, DF Taylor Peay.

Other new arrivals for 2018 include: Spanish FW Alfredo Ortuño; a pair of young American DFs returning from Europe in Adam Henley and Shawn Barry; 19-year old dual-national MF Pablo Ruiz, the Argentine youth international who could play for Chile's senior side; accomplished veteran MF Damir Kreilach; reserve GK Alex Horwath, another American returning stateside from Europe; and rookie FW Ricky Lopez-Espin (Creighton).

Real Salt Lake's 2018 Major League Soccer regular-season schedule follows:

Officially opening last week, the Zions Bank Real Academy training campus in Herriman, Utah is located just 20 minutes southwest of Rio Tinto Stadium. The $78 million facility, which will see the first of five grass "TORO Fields" available in upcoming weeks - will serve as the daily training home for both of the club's men's professional teams - RSL (MLS) and Real Monarchs (USL) - while centralizing the club's U-19, U-17 and future U-15 development academy youth selections under the guidance of Academy Director Martin Vasquez.

The Herriman facility provides adjacencies for an on-site charter school in conjunction with the Jordan School District, which opened last August, focusing on STEM disciplines (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) for nearly 300 boys and girls, kicking off a new era for both sports and education in Utah.

Last December in North Logan, Utah, RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen christened the opening of the first of a half-dozen regional training centers across Utah and Arizona to be built in the next 2-3 years. Each $5 million RTC houses a classroom, as well as an indoor and outdoor field, dedicated to fulfilling a curriculum consistent with the club's vision and mission for youth soccer training and education, and the continued development of both recreational and competitive pre-Academy (ages 7-14) initiatives across Utah and Arizona.

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