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SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer today unveiled the third-year team's regular-season slate, with the Saturday, April 7 Opening Day marking the Rice-Eccles Stadium debut of Freddy Adu and Luis Tejada in an RSL uniform, kicking off at 4:00 p.m. MT vs. defending Western Conference regular-season Champion FC Dallas. The team's "Carnival Real" festivities in the Olympic Cauldron Park of Rice-Eccles Stadium return for 2007, opening two hours prior to kickoff on Opening Day and 60 minutes prior to kickoff for most other RSL games.
RSL, Major League Soccer's hottest team during the second half of the 2006 regular season, went 7-4-5 to earn 26 of a possible 38 points. In 2007, RSL Head Coach John Ellinger's team plays four of its first five league matches at home, with a fifth Rice-Eccles Stadium date of April 18 added to host a reserve game against the Fiji National Team at 5:00 p.m. MT prior to the senior squad's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifier against the Kansas City Wizards at 7:30 p.m. that same evening. That game will be ticketed as Bonus Game A in the 2007 Royal Club Members' season ticket package.
For the third consecutive season, RSL will host games as part of Independence Day and Pioneer Day fireworks traditions, welcoming 2007 expansion squad Toronto FC to the Wasatch Front on Wednesday, July 4 and hosting a soon-to-be-announced international opponent on Saturday, July 21. Both holiday games kickoff at 8:00 p.m. MT, allowing for post-game fireworks displays to blast off during the requisite darkness.
Real Salt Lake welcomes back international soccer and pop-culture icon David Beckham to Rice-Eccles Stadium on Wednesday, September 19, with the star revisiting Utah for the first time since last August's 2-0 Real Madrid victory over RSL. Beckham will be joined by MLS veterans Landon Donovan and newly-acquired GK Joe Cannon, who now calls Los Angeles home.
Real Salt Lake Royal Club Members (all season seat and 10-game flex-voucher holders) enjoy the exclusive opportunity from now through Monday, February 12th to purchase individual game tickets to ANY of the team's 15 regular season games, including Opening Day on April 7th and the David Beckham / LA Galaxy contest on September 19.
Should RSL win the April 18 Open Cup qualifier it hosts vs. Kansas City, the team would advance to the next stage of Open Cup MLS play-in games at Colorado against the Rocky Mountain Cup rival Rapids, on May 16. The rivals will already have seen each other on March 31 in the preseason Las Vegas exhibition game, as well as on Saturday, April 28, in Salt Lake and on Thursday, May 10 LIVE on ESPN2 at the new Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, the newest soccer-specific stadium in MLS and the home of the 2007 MLS Sierra Mist All-Star Game on Thursday, July 19, as the MLS All-Stars will take on Celtic FC of Scotland.
RSL will be featured on national television 13 times during its third campaign, as the 2007 MLS season features the most comprehensive national television slate in League history, with a total of 113 live matches. Fans will find it easier than ever to follow their favorite teams and players as each of the four national broadcast networks has anchored its live broadcasts on a certain night of the week, providing destination viewing for all sports fans. Throughout the season ESPN2 will broadcast "MLS Primetime Thursday," while Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español and HDNet will each air an MLS match on Saturdays. Univision's family of networks, which includes TeleFutura and Galavisión, will air MLS matches on Sundays. Also for the first time in League history, every regular season game will be televised, either through national or regional broadcasts. Real Salt Lake's regional broadcast schedule is to be determined and will be unveiled in the near future. The entire MLS schedule, including individual team schedules, is available at www.MLSnet.com.
A linchpin of this year's television schedule is "MLS Primetime Thursdays" on ESPN2, consisting of 29 live broadcasts, including three MLS Cup Playoff matches and the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game on July 19 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. RSL is featured on ESPN2 on both Thursday, May 10 at Colorado and on Thursday, June 14 at home vs. FC Dallas, a game which represents the team's first home game in more than 5 weeks after RSL's first-ever four-game road swing.
Real Salt Lake is featured on four of Fox Soccer Channel's 28 regular-season games, each one in a three-hour programming window entitled "MLS Saturday on FSC" and three of the four originating from Rice-Eccles Stadium. On Saturday, June 23, FSC showcases RSL MF Freddy Adu against his former team, D.C. United, in the U.S. U-20 National Team Captain's final home game prior to the World Youth Championships in Canada. FSC also emanates live from Salt Lake on Saturday, July 28 in the defending Eastern Conference Champion New England Revolution's lone Utah visit, and on Saturday, September 22 in the third of four Rocky Mountain Cup tilts between RSL and the Colorado Rapids. FSC's lone RSL road game sends the team's RFK Stadium visit against four-time MLS Cup Champion D.C. United nationwide on September 26.
Fox Soccer Channel's on-site coverage will include MLS's first-ever 30-minute pre-game show and 30-minute post-game show; all Fox Soccer Channel MLS games will also air in Spanish in two-hour programming windows on sister network Fox Sports en Español, the largest Spanish-language all-sports network in the U.S. MLS action returns to the Univision family of networks in 2007 with 25 Sunday broadcasts, 22 on TeleFutura and three on Galavisión during the regular season. RSL plays at Chicago on Sunday, May 27 in its lone TeleFutura appearance.
HDNet, the first all-high definition national television network, features RSL six times during its fifth season of MLS coverage in HD, airing 31 regular season games in high-definition, 27 of them on Saturday nights. RSL game dates on hi-def include May 5 at home vs. NY; June 2 at New England; September 1 at Los Angeles; September 8 at Houston; September 19 vs. Los Angeles; and October 6 vs. CD Chivas USA in the only visit for RSL's expansion brethren to Rice-Eccles.
RSL returns 21 players from its 2006 squad, including 14 players who started 10 or more games last year. New additions for the 2007 campaign include MF Freddy Adu; Panamanian FW Luis Tejada, now preparing his country's national team for next week's CONCACAF Gold Cup Qualifying; former University of Maryland GK Chris Seitz, selected #4 overall in the most recent MLS SuperDraft and Adu's teammate on the U.S. U-20 National Team; and former FC Kaiserslatern DF Chris Lancos, who returned stateside last month to pursue an MLS career.