Real Salt Lake Match Preview: RSL V. FC Dallas
SANDY, Utah (Friday, November 5, 2010) - Real Salt Lake will look to keep its MLS Cup title defense going tomorrow, Saturday, November 6, when the Claret-and-Cobalt return home to try and overcome a one-goal deficit against FC Dallas in their Western Conference Semifinal Series. Saturday's Leg Two clash at Rio Tinto Stadium is set for an 8:00 p.m. MT kickoff, with Fox Soccer Channel again covering the decisive showdown from Sandy.
Tickets for Saturday's West Semifinal Leg Two are expected to sell out but still remain available as of Friday afternoon and can be purchased online at www.RealSaltLake.com and www.RioTintoStadium.com, over the phone at 801-727-2700, and in person at the Rio Tinto Stadium Box Office beginning at 10:00 a.m on gameday. In addition to the Fox Soccer Channel television coverage (which begins with the "MLS on FSC" pre-game show at 7:30 p.m.), fans can follow the action live via RSL's official radio partners - ESPN 700 (English) and Homero 106.1-FM (Spanish) - and online at the club's official Twitter feed (@RealSaltLake) and MLSsoccer.com's MatchCenter.
The Western Conference Semifinal Series is contested as an aggregate goals series in which no weight is placed on away goals. Should Real Salt Lake record a one-goal regulation win over FC Dallas in Saturday's second leg in Sandy, the squads will then square off in a 30-minute mini-game (played in its entirety) to determine a series winner. Should that end even, the teams will then decide advancement to the Western Conference Championship by kicks from the penalty spot.
Real Salt Lake enters this Saturday's return leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal series down 1-2 following Saturday's defeat (highlights) to the "Hoops" at Pizza Hut Park. The loss for RSL was only its second across all competitions in its last 21 contests, and its first to a MLS opponent since July 17 - the day RSL last visited FC Dallas.
Rather than dwell on past disappointments in Texas, Real Salt Lake can look to its recent history against FC Dallas in Utah for plenty of hope come this weekend, where RSL has gone 6-3-1 against FCD, including wins in all three games played at Rio Tinto Stadium since its "fortress" opened in October of 2008. The most recent of those victories came just three weekends ago on October 16, when Real Salt Lake's 2-0 triumph (highlights) in front of a then-Rio Tinto Stadium record crowd of 20,236 pushed the Utah side's MLS-record home undefeated streak to 25 games and ended Dallas' own League-record streaks of 19 overall matches unbeaten and 12 road games without a loss.
Trio of Fallen Utah Soldiers to Be Honored as Saturday's RSL/American Express "Heroes Among Us"
Real Salt Lake will ask fans to join in a moment of silence during pre-game ceremonies on Saturday night to recognize three fallen soldiers from Utah that will be recognized as the match's RSL/American Express "Heroes Among Us" - Private First Class Jordan Byrd, Sergeant Aaron Kramer, and Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Wagstaff. All three members of the United States Army saw their lives cut tragically short in recent weeks while serving their country in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Private First Class Byrd, a 19-year-old native of Grantsville, was an Army medic in the 101st Airborne Division who entered the service as a way towards beginning a career path as a doctor. Private First Class Byrd will be represented during Saturday's ceremony by his wife, Savannah, their newborn son, Ayden, and parents Roberta and Scott Pitt.
22-year-old Sergeant Kramer of Cottonwood Heights had risen quickly through the ranks, joining the service immediately upon graduating from Skyline High School and the Taylorsville JROTC program and eventually becoming an Army Ranger-qualified airborne infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division. Sergeant Kramer will be represented at the ceremony by his parents, Shannon and Richard Kramer.
Another member of the 101st Airborne, Chief Warrant Officer Wagstaff made the ultimate sacrifice alongside eight of his fellow soldiers when their Blackhawk helicopter was downed by enemy fire. The 34-year-old Orem native will be represented on Saturday evening by parents Suzanne and Ron Wagstaff, brother Jason and his wife Amanda, sister Cassie and her fiancée Wayne Burton, and nephew Casey Wagstaff. Per Chief Warrant Officer Wagstaff's request, a memorial fund has been created to help finance the education of his surviving nieces and nephews so that they could have the same opportunities he had to follow his dream; those interested in donating may send their donations to the following address:
"CW3 Matthew Wagstaff Memorial Fund"
Fort Campbell Federal Credit Union
2050 Lowe's Drive
Clarksville, TN 37040
Real Salt Lake and American Express are grateful to the fallen soldiers for their courage and service, and appreciate the opportunity to welcome the families of these American heroes to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday so their own bravery and sacrifice can be recognized. Real Salt Lake and American Express would also like to give special thanks to the Utah National Guard's Survivor Outreach Services program for its role in helping the families of these and other fallen soldiers throughout our Utah communities.
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