Real Salt Lake came on the MLS scene in 2005 with much fanfare, but their first three seasons were marred by poor results. In 2008, they finally qualified for the playoffs and they rode a wave of good play all the way to the semifinals before falling to NYRB. They have still never won a major trophy, but I don’t think it will be too much longer now.
As they have only been around for four years, they do not have many legends. Freddy Adu plied his trade in Utah before moving across the ocean to Benfica. Eddie Pope also played for RSL, as did Chris Klein, Jeff Cunningham, Alecko Eskandarian and Jason Kreis, the squad’s current coach. He’s done a remarkably good job so far too.
RSL has a beautiful new stadium and their supporters are hoping to carry last year’s momentum into 2009. They should be tough too as they have many strong players returning, including Kyle Beckerman, Nat Borchers, Robbie Findley, and Yura Movsisyan. Javier Morales is their leader, and one of MLS’s best.
So, RSL is poised to put their poor past behind them and start a new era of quality results. Their strong play has their attendance rising and fans are excited about the prospect of another strong finish in 2009. I have always hated their name, which is a nod to La Liga giant Real Madrid, but I am beginning to enjoy their play.