Real Salt Lake notebook: Season-opening win is club's first ever
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Season openers have not traditionally been kind to RSL. In its previous five openers, Real had an 0-2-3 record, including last year's 2-0 loss to Seattle.
That isn't good, but the team's record in the first road game of each season has been even worse. Real was a miserable 0-4-1 and had been outscored 14-1.
Those numbers will look much better next year as Real opened with a 3-0 win on the road at the San Jose Earthquakes.
"I think that was the first time Real Salt Lake has won the first game of the season in their history, so it is a nice little statistic we can put in our pockets," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "To get a shutout in the first road match is very important for us. And to get the win, obviously, in the first road match is important for us as well — a lot of good things."
A NEW LOOK: RSL unveiled new away jerseys on Saturday. The familiar XANGO logo still dominates the front, but there were a few changes: black stripes down each of the sleeves with an MLS logo on the right and the American flag on the left. The RSL shield appears above the left breast, and over the right each member proudly displays an MLS champions patch.
MAKING SOME NOISE: They may have been in the minority, but the small section of fans from La Barra Real made their presence felt. The supporters group rented a bus for the nearly 600-mile trip and made Buck Shaw Stadium feel a little bit like home for RSL with their drum playing, flag waving, singing and chanting throughout the contest.
MUCH ANTICIPATED: Newly acquired Costa Rican forward Alvaro Saborio made his much-anticipated debut, entering as a substitute for Fabian Espindola in the 72nd minute. Brought in to replace the departed Yura Movsisyan, Saborio has scored more than 130 goals in more than 250 games at the professional level in both Costa Rica and Europe.
GRABAVOY GRABS A SPOT: Claimed off waivers last March after being let go from the Quakes, midfielder Ned Grabavoy saw action in 20 games last season, including eight starts. After a tremendous preseason in which club officials said Grabavoy has perhaps been in the best form of any player, the 26-year-old earned an opening-day start.
"It was nice to get out there and contribute," said Grabavoy. "I think that just being with the team for a full season and really starting to understand how we all play together has helped. I really like the style of play that this team has, and I think it suits my style very well. I am excited to see exactly what we can do and how I can help the team."
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