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SANDY — Real Salt Lake learned its 2013 Major League Soccer regular season slate as the league released the schedule Wednesday morning.
RSL will play five of its first seven matches on the road beginning with the first two matches on opposite sides of the country at the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United. The Claret and Cobalt will then return home to open home play at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Colorado Rapids in the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
The Salt Lake club will host the current MLS cup holder, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and the current Supporters Shield holder, the San Jose Earthquakes, and the Seattle Sounders at home twice this season.
“We’re playing L.A. and Seattle both twice at home this year, and for me those are the teams that are perennial powers in our conference,” RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey told Bill and Hans on ESPN 700 during a radio interview Wednesday afternoon.
“Certainly there are other good teams but (L.A. and Seattle) are the teams that are going to spend more money than everybody else and are going to behave like the big market teams. You’ve got to assume that having them at home for at least two games each makes it perhaps a touch easier, but on the other hand you’ve got to go to places like Portland twice, Vancouver twice where we’ve never won. So there’s clearly some pros and cons.”
The first half of the RSL season will see the team at home for nine of its 17 matches and the second half of the season will see the club at home for eight of the 17 matches.
Only three of the Claret and Cobalt’s 34 2013 MLS matches will be nationally televised, with only one of those at Rio Tinto. NBC Sports will televise the Salt Lake club at Colorado on April 6, at home Aug. 30 against the Portland Timbers and at Seattle Sept. 13.
With the departure of former RSL defender Jamison Olave and forward Fabian Espindola to the New York Red Bulls, RSL fans won’t have the pleasure of welcoming them back into Rio Tinto this season as the Salt Lake club will not host the Red Bulls during the 2013 regular season. RSL will face the Red Bulls in New York July 27.
The Salt Lake club will have five bye weekends during the 2013 season, with the first one coming June 15. The other bye weekends for the club will be July 6, Sept. 6 and Oct. 12 and 26.
RSL will finish out its 2013 season hosting Chivas USA on Oct. 23.
Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.