SANDY — Rio Tinto Stadium will be a popular place for international soccer this summer.
Real Salt Lake will welcome Manchester United to the Wasatch Front in July, but before that, the U.S. men’s national team will make its first trip to Sandy since 2013 when it hosts Venezuela in an international friendly June 3 at 3 p.m. MDT, as first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed by multiple news outlets, including KSL.
A formal announcement is expected Monday by U.S. Soccer.
The United States is 3-0-0 all-time at Rio Tinto Stadium, and this summer’s friendly will come as the team is preparing for a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago in Denver on June 8, and at an altitude of 7,382 feet against Mexico on June 11.
Three points at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado seem a must, while a decent result at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City are also a high priority as the United States tries to build on its four-point performance through the first four games of the six-team “hexagonal” in CONCACAF qualifying ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The U.S. men’s national team is fourth in “the hex,” trailing Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.
Using the altitude advantage for a friendly against a South American club that has already been eliminated from World Cup contention should prove to be a significant advantage for the United States.
“We have a better chance of being acclimatized with having two weeks of training and following some procedures that we think will help the players adjust,” U.S. coach Bruce Arena told the Washington Post. “We want to have our best chance to leave Mexico City and Denver with three points.”
Tickets for June’s friendly will go on sale April 20 at 10 a.m. MDT for select RSL “royalty members,” and the general public may begin buying tickets a day later online or at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office.
General ticket sales for RSL’s friendly against Manchester United begin April 24.