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The Five Finest MLS Venues: What’s #5?

Background: Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium is the newest stadium on this list, and one day it could be higher up. Opened at the end of last season, Rio Tinto is one of the finest fields in all of MLS. It will host this year’s All-Star game and will serve RSL well for years to come. Located in Sandy, Utah, the soccer specific stadium is a MLS jewel.

Construction: The stadium’s construction began in 2006, and two years and $115 million later, it was finished. The proposal to build the venue was not actually in place until one day before the owner’s deadline by which a proposal had to be passed or he would sell the team. It seats 20,000 fans and was designed by the famous Rossetti Architects.

Features: Rio Tinto has a grass pitch which is very well kept. The name arises from the multinational mining corporation that purchased the rights for 15 years at a price of $2 million per year. It is one of MLS’s most “state of the art” stadiums, and its design features 32 luxury suites, a stadium club, and brilliant views of nearby mountains.

Fans: RSL’s old venue, Rice-Eccles Stadium, didn’t please the fans much, so they largely avoided it. But, the new stadium, coupled with the team’s fantastic finish last year, has Rio Tinto looking full and RSL’s fortunes on the rise. While the stadium hasn’t been around long enough to have a lasting legacy, I still think it belongs at #5 on this list.