With the entire regular season schedule for Real Salt Lake's 17th season in Major League Soccer now official, here are five matches at Rio Tinto Stadium that you don't want to miss.
What better way to kick off the 2021 home slate than a match against your bitter rivals? RSL welcomes Sporting Kansas City to Sandy on May 1 for its home-opening contest. RSL enters its 17th season in Major League Soccer, having earned a 7-3-2 record at Rio Tinto Stadium against SKC. That, combined with this match being the first home game in nearly six months, the home opener is guaranteed to be every bit as exciting as the last. Not to mention, the last time the boys suited up at the RioT, they fell 2-0 to their rivals, intensifying the need for redemption.
Our whitecaps are better
With the ongoing struggles and stipulations caused by the pandemic, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will call Rio Tinto Stadium its home, at least for the beginning of the 2021 season. On June 18, RSL hosts Vancouver in a match that may see two home teams clash in Sandy. With both sides becoming comfortable with the RioT, tactics are likely to take center-stage in this one.
Alright, alright, alright … we get it
Having a movie star owner typically makes for an intriguing sell when you enter Major League Soccer. Still, it doesn't mean that there's a need to skip out on friendly pleasantries in the first-ever meeting between Matthew McConaughey's Austin FC and RSL. On Aug. 14, RSL welcomes the 2021 expansion side to Sandy for the first time. While the club is excited to face off against the newest member of the MLS family, 'Verde' should expect a raucous welcome to Utah, similar to Mr. McConaughey's realization at the end of "Fools Gold."
Four days following RSL's clash with Austin FC, the claret-and-cobalt welcomes the revamped Houston Dynamo side looking to reintroduce itself to the Western Conference as a contender. With the additions of Joe Corona, Maxi Urruti, and Fafa Picault, the Houston attack looks more potent than its 2020 version. The Aug. 18 clash could end up being a battle of the attacking pieces to see who comes out on top.
The final regular-season home match happens on what Major League Soccer lovingly refers to as "Decision Day." RSL welcomes the Portland Timbers to Sandy on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the penultimate match of 2021 for the club. The final home match of the season has historically carried massive implications in an always-tight Western Conference. Should RSL be in a playoff position – or even the top seed in the West – claiming three points at home before the playoffs can shape the postseason's trajectory for the Utah side.
Even though we highlighted five matches, the entirety of RSL Nation knows any night at the RioT is a good night.
2021 RSL Season Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at RSL.com or by calling 844.REAL.TIX. Partial plans and single match tickets will be available soon. For the most up-to-date information, visit RSL.com.