New England Soccer Today

Get to Know: #RSL

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

The Revolution look to extend their current unbeaten streak to six when they host Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Kickoff is 7:30 pm.

Here are a few things to know about Real Salt Lake going into Sunday’s match:

*Real Salt Lake has begun the year with mixed results with a 2-1-3 record. Real Salt Lake began the season with a five game unbeaten streak, but lost last Saturday at home to the Western Conference leading Vancouver Whitecaps, when the game-deciding goal was conceded when Real Salt Lake was down a man, due to a red card given in the 76th minute.

*The 80th minute goal conceded to Vancouver broke a 262-minute shutout streak by Real Salt Lake.

*Real Salt Lake also has seen a shortage of offense in the month of April, with only one goal in their last three games and no goals in their previous two. In total, Real Salt Lake have played 226 minutes since their last goal.

*Real Salt Lake has had success against Eastern Conference teams so far this year scoring 5 goals in 3 games and having a 1-0-1 against Philadelphia and Toronto.

*For every game so far this season, Real Salt Lake has started with a 4-3-3 formation, though there will be changes to the lineup after two Salt Lake players were given red cards last week and will be suspended for this match.

*On that note, Sebastian Saucedo was given a red card in the 76th minute and Jamison Olave was given a red card in the 89th minute in last week’s Vancouver-Salt Lake match, resulting in their suspensions this week. The absence of Saucedo won’t be much of a factor as the forward is a bench player who played in two games, both off the bench, and has logged a total of 13 minutes in the 2015 season. Olave, however, has started every match for Salt Lake along their back line and had played every minute of the season, prior to the red card.

*Salt Lake is led by two U.S. nationals: midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Beckerman is the only player on the squad to player every minute in the 2015, while Rimando has played all but one game.

*Real Salt Lake’s leading goal scorer is midfielder Javier Morales, who has two goals and three assists on the season, which leads the team in both. Forwards Olmes Garcia and Alvaro Saborio lead the attack, with 11 and 10 shots on the season, respectively, although only Saborio has a goal registered so far in 2015.

*The lack of offense previously mentioned can (partially) be attributed to the injury of Joao Plata, a 22-year-old attacking midfielder who has registered 17 goals and 14 assists in his first two seasons with Real Salt Lake. After leading the team with 13 goals in 2014, Plata broke his foot in pre-season and is expected to return to the team around late May.

*Real Salt Lake manager Jeff Cassar has been with the squad since May 2007 and was named the third manager in franchise history in December 2013 upon the former coach, Jason Kreis, accepting the managerial job at NYC FC. Cassar is entering his second full season as manager of the squad and posted a 15-8-11 record in his first MLS season, which included a 12-match unbeaten streak at the start of the season.

*This is Cassar’s first managerial job, but he is no stranger to MLS: He appeared in 79 MLS matches as a goalkeeper with Dallas Burn/FC Dallas, New York/New Jersey Metrostars and Miami Fusion from 1996 to 2006, with stops with Ipswich Town, Bolton Wanderers and Atlanta Silverbacks along the way. Cassar’s MLS goalkeeping record consists of 76 starts, a 28-36-10 record, and 13 shutouts. He also appeared in five MLS Cup playoff games and helped two teams reach the U.S. Open Cup Finals.

*Cassar has some connections to a couple of players who once suited up for New England. He was a teammate of Revolution coach Jay Heaps in Miami, and was roommates with Steve Ralston at Florida International University.

*Cassar is also unbeaten against the Revolution, winning 2-1 on July 4th in the only match between the squads last season. Here are some highlights from the last matchup between these teams:

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