Real Salt Lake, one of the most successful clubs in MLS history, visits Stade Saputo this Saturday. Having made the playoffs in seven straight seasons, the longest active streak in the league, RSL has won one MLS Cup and made a second finals appearance along the way.
Here are three things you should know about the Claret and Cobalt:
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando is a wunderkind. Last weekend, he earned his 100th career win with the club in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire, including a save off of a penalty shot that earned him a Save of the Week nomination, up against our very own Evan Bush among others. He has 83 shutouts in 233 career games with the Claret and Cobalt, with a 1.08 goals against average, and has been the keeper for all seven consecutive playoff appearances.
Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts chose to use the “Real” title in the club’s name in order to establish a brand that would be identified internationally, thanks to its association with Real Madrid, one of the top clubs in the world. In 2006, the two clubs signed a 10-year cooperative agreement to work together to promote soccer throughout Utah and the United States, including friendly matches, preseason training in Spain and the creation of a youth academy.
The Montreal Impact and Real Salt Lake will now forever be linked as the only MLS clubs to make a Champions League final, with the team from Utah accomplishing the feat in 2011, falling to Mexican side Monterrey after playing to a draw in Mexico in the first leg, just like their neighbours from the north.