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Real Salt Lake

May 2, 2011

Real Salt Lake joined the league alongside Chivas USA in 2005. After an adjustment period, RSL’s fortunes took off, spurred by a steal of a trade where RSL shipped Mehdi Ballouchy to Colorado for the dreadlocked Kyle Beckerman. Key foreign signings such as defender Jamison Olave, attacking midfielder Javier Morales, and striker Alvaro Saborio, make up the most impressive list of MLS imports in recent years. The club won the 2009 MLS Cup and finished runner-up in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League.

Jamison Olave joined RSL on loan from Colombia’s Deportivo Cali and instantly became one of MLS’ most feared defenders. The big center back scored the first ever Salt Lake goal at Rio Tinto Stadium, and was named the MLS Defender of the Year in 2010. Olave has teamed with Nat Borchers to form one of MLS’ best defensive lines.

Kyle Beckerman is Salt Lake’s captain and dreadlocked midfield maestro. Beckerman led Salt Lake to the 2009 MLS Cup, but missed the final of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League due to yellow card accumulation. His absence has been cited as a possible reason for the loss. Beckerman has made appearances for the U.S. National Team, usually when the regulars aren’t available.

RSL opened play in Rice-Eccles Stadium, home to the University of Utah’s football program. After three seasons, a soccer-specific stadium was hard to come by, and rumors of a move persisted. Eventually, a deal was struck with nearby Sandy, Utah, and Rio Tinto Stadium (capacity: 20,008) was born. The club has maintained a great deal of success at Rio Tinto, calling it a “fortress.”

MLS Cup (1): 2009

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