Sports stats

 Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake Welcomes Defending Champion Columbus Crew to Utah Saturday

April 12, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Real Salt Lake News Release

HERRIMAN, Utah - Real Salt Lake (3-2-2, 11 pts., t-3rd West MLS) resumes its 2024 MLS regular season - the Club's 20th and Major League Soccer 29th - this Saturday at its America First Field home with a 7:30p MT kickoff against defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew (3-1-3, 12 pts, t-2nd East MLS), the active CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinalists after this week's shootout win at Tigres UANL in Monterrey, Mex.

RSL Captain FW Chicho Arango - the MLS leader in goal contributions with six goals and four assists through seven games this season - rides an active six-game streak with either a goal or an assist into this weekend. Chicho found the back of the net last Saturday at Minnesota, on the heels of recording all three RSL goals two weeks ago in the Utah side's come-from-behind 3-1 win over St. Louis. With the Club's first hat trick since September 17, 2018 (Damir Kreilach). Chicho's three-goal performance is just the seventh in RSL's 621-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 - at Minnesota.

Chicho also had assists on both RSL goals at Vancouver on March 23, giving him responsibility for creating the last six Claret-and-Cobalt goals. Arango now has 105 goals as a professional, including 49 goals in 82 games across all competitions since arriving in MLS for LAFC and RSL. Since arriving on the Wasatch Front last July, Chicho boasts 14 goals and six assists in 25 MLS appearances for the Utah-based side, with those numbers increasing to 16 goals and eight assists in 30 RSL games across all competitions (incl. Leagues Cup, Open Cup, Playoffs).

This Saturday's kickoff at 7:30p MT on Apple TV+ / MLS Season Pass features Tony Husband and Ross Smith (ENG) and John Laguna and Claudio Suarez (SPN) on the call. For local coverage, tune in at 6:30p MT for KSL Radio pre-game w/ David James & Jay Nolly via / 1280 AM / 97.5 FM and / 1160 AM).

Real Salt Lake v. Columbus Crew SC - MLS Matchday 9

America First Field - Sandy, Utah

Saturday, April 13, 2024 - 7:30p MT

2023 Records:

Real Salt Lake (14-12-8, 50 pts, 5th West);

Columbus Crew SC (16-9-9, 57 pts., 3rd East)

Saturday's match is the first of three consecutive contests pitting RSL against Eastern Conference opponents. Following the home tilt against Columbus, RSL hits the road each of the next two weekends, first traveling to Chicago to face the Fire on Sat., April 20 (6:30p MT) before matriculating to Philadelphia on Sat., April 27 (5:30p MT to square off against the Union. RSL is 1-1-2 / 5 pts. away from home thus far this season, as Pablo Mastroeni's "road warriors" look to improve upon a 12W-5L-8T road mark across all competitions last season.


RSL FW Anderson Julio - who missed last weekend's trip to Minnesota after suffering a hamstring strain two weeks ago at home in the 3-1 win over St. Louis - returned to training this week and is expected to be healthy enough to contribute, pending Friday's training session ... Julio provided the equalizer in the Club's comeback win at Vancouver on March 23, scoring just his sixth goal as a starter to go with 12 career goals off the bench for RSL. The Ecauadoran international has now scored 12 of those 18 all-time MLS goals in the second half, with eight of the 12 coming as a substitute.


RSL MF Diego Luna now ranks second in MLS with five assists in six games this young season, last providing the primary helper on Chicho's third goal in that historic performance back on March 30 in Sandy. That third goal was the dagger which launched Arango on his way to the MLS lead with six goals this year after last week's header at Minnesota. Arango is also third in MLS in assists with four, the RSL Captain dominating the chance creation game through the first eight matchdays. Right winger Andrés Gómez adds two goals and three assists to an attack that also features MF Matt Crooks and the multi-faceted Fidel Barajas in the new-look game model for 2024.


RSL starlet Diego Luna - who would probably have as many as 3 assists this year once MLS re-institutes secondary assists - joined Ruiz in signing a long-term contract extension with the Club in early March, keeping the affectionately known "Moon Boy" with the Utah side through the 2026 season, with Club options for 2027/28.

Luna - who received his first-ever USMNT cap in January's friendly with Slovenia in San Antonio and is on the preliminary USMNT rosters for both the Nations League and Olympic camps later this month - is now considered a U22 roster designation for RSL, joining Braian Ojeda and Nelson Palacio, as winger Andrés Gómez is moved into the "Young DP" slot, alongside Chicho Arango and newcomer Matt Crooks (TAM-able in MLS' secondary window this summer).

RSL playmaker Diego Luna emerged last season as a late-season talisman for the Claret-and-Cobalt, scoring critical goals in each of the final five matches - two MLS reg. season contests, providing the equalizers in both leg one and leg three of the Playoffs at Houston, and scoring the game-clinching PK in the leg two elimination match at home ... Luna recently earned his first U.S. Men's National Team appearance in the January friendly in San Antonio against Slovenia, starting and playing 77 minutes in the very same free role drifting off left wing that he has made his own at RSL.

2024 should be a big year for Luna, whose role within the team is certain to expand after he has now started 25 of 30 games following his return from USYNT qualifying last summer. This year, Luna will have to juggle his Club obligations with potential U.S. Men's National Team duty in June's Copa America and his almost certain Olympic Team duty in July. The Paris Olympics schedule dovetails nicely with the Leagues Cup slate, minimizing Luna's potential absences from MLS reg. season contests.


RSL's 2023 RSL side amassed the Club's seventh 50-point season all-time, and just the second since the 2014 campaign. Finishing 11th overall out of 29 teams, RSL crashed out of the postseason by the thinnest of margins for a second consecutive year (Austin 2022, Houston 2023), dropping a road shootout tiebreaker in Texas. Other 2023 RSL milestones:

Accumulated an all-time Club-best road record with 12 results in 17 away MLS matches, posting an 8W-5L-4T mark with 28 of its 50 reg. season points amassed on the road; RSL's previous road bests were recorded in 2012 and 2013, with identical 6W-7L-4T marks;

RSL's home mark of 6W-7L-4T was its worst since 2007, when a 4W-7L-4T record on the RiceEccles turf marked the 19-year nadir;

During a nearly four-month span from mid-April to early August, RSL dropped just three of 24 games across all competitions, including MLS reg. season action, its Open Cup run to the Semifinals and its initial Leagues Cup foray;

Thirty-two (32) different players saw action for RSL in 2023, including 15-year-old FW Axel Kei and 16-year-old Zavier Gozo making their Homegrown debuts, along with Academy products GK Gavin Beavers and DF Delentz Pierre also making their first-ever first-team appearances; a trio of rookies - D/M Emeka Eneli, FW Bertin Jacquesson and FW Ilijah Paul - made their professional debuts, while FW Andrés Gómez, MF Nelson Palacio, DF Kevon Lambert and DF Brayan Vera notched their first-ever MLS appearances last season;

Since April 16, 2005, RSL has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage on Utah soil - posting a dominant 197-84-95 (Win-Loss-Draw) record across all competitions at home (1.82 points per game for a 0.649 win pct.) - since arriving on the Wasatch Front nearly 20 years ago;

Since opening its permanent home in Sandy just over 15 years ago, in October, 2008, RSL's 163-59-75 (W-L-T) MLS reg. season mark at America First Field - home of the "RioT" Supporters Group umbrella - equates to a 1.91 points per game average and a 0.679 win pct, one of the truly amazing value proposition in North American sporting landscape today.

• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...

Major League Soccer Stories from April 12, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central