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What does 2015 hold for Real Salt Lake?

It came down to the wire, but a new CBA has been agreed to, so the MLS season can get under way.  What exactly does that mean for RSL heading into the 2015 season?

With some big off-season changes both in the front office as well as on the pitch, this clearly is now Dell Loy’s team with his choice for coach Jeff Cassar entering his second season and Craig Waibel as the Technical Director in place. So what are your expectations for RSL heading into the 2015 season? Remember this year we will see MLS action, CCL action, USOC action, as well as the addition of USL Pro side Real Monarchs, construction of a new stadium for them, the possible addition of a NWSL team, that is a whole lot of soccer (and yes we love it).

So let’s start with the bread and butter of RSL, the regular season, over the last 5 years 3 clubs in MLS have been the definition of regular season success, the LA Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake. For the last 5 years both LA and RSL have won at least 15 matches and ended with at least 50 points, Seattle has done it the last 4 seasons.  RSL has made the playoffs every season since 2008, the longest active streak in MLS.

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Another chance for the RSL family to do some good

Hey folks, every time there has been a need the #RSLFamily steps up to do amazing things for the people in need in our community, and this is another great chance to do just that.

I got the following information from Deb Donoviel Harper, who has helped on so many projects for so many people I am constantly amazed by her huge heard and passion for helping others.

Click here to view flyer

“I want to thank everyone for all their help and support on The Glad’s home. I am now moving from a VERY happy story, to a story that isn’t so happy, BUT CAN BE WITH OUR HELP. “WE” have been asked by Nat Borchers, Coach Cassar, along with other team members to step up and help one of our own, RSL Family member, Team Manager Salvador Perez.

Here is Nat’s personal note about Claudia and her disorder:

“Sal needs our help. His niece, Claudia Perez, has a rare genetic disease called Marfan Syndrome. Marfan Syndrome causes connective tissue degeneration. Connective tissue is what holds all of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs together. Because connective tissue is found all over the body, Marfan Syndrome can affect many areas of the body. For many people this disease is life-threatening. In the case of Claudia, the disease has affected her heart. Claudia needs multiple surgeries to stop the disease from shutting down her heart.

For her to survive, she will need prosthetic implants to help her heart to continue to function properly. These surgeries are highly complex. During these surgeries doctors will implant 3 different prostheses. Claudia is literally fighting for her life. The surgeries and the prosthetics are very expensive. Claudia needs to raise at least $30,000 just to pay for the deposit for these surgeries and prosthetics. The Perez Family is looking for donations for both the cost of these surgeries and for the cost of the prosthesis.”

No donation is too small. Thanks for you help!
Nat Borchers

So, we are putting together fundraisers (On the team’s personal time) to do just that, HELP. Until these events you can make ANY DONATION no matter how small at Childrenandtheearth.com and MAKE SURE you list TEAM RSL FAMILY in the comments.
They are a 501(C)3.

Also with Children and the Earth we have entered a team in Ride the Brainwave TEAM RSL FAMILY where you can register to either run the 5K, or join the Motorycycle Poker Ride. (PREREGISTRATION IS VERY IMPORTANT)

Any one who knows me knows it is “GO BIG OR GO HOME” so I want our team to be the biggest there! Come on RSL FAMILY, SUPPORTER’S CLUBS and anyone else, LET’S DO THIS. The event is great. There are bands throughout the day and the headline band this year in the evening will be Great White (Included with your registration)There is also a beer garden. So please join with me and let’s get Claudia the surgery she needs! I will have fliers at the tailgate lot tomorrow.”

No matter the cause I know that if Deb is behind it that it is not only is worthwhile but that it will change lives.  We can all do a little, which can go a very long way.

That’s How I See It

25th anniversary of Hillsborough tragedy

So if you listened to Soccer Morning on the 11th you heard Jason interview Daniel Gordon who is the director of the ESPN 30 for 30 piece called Hillsborough that will air on April 15th 2014, the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

What does this matter you might ask? For me it is part of the reason I am a Liverpool fan, and on April 15th 1989 was the first time I really became aware of LFC as the events of Hillsborough came to light.  I had been to soccer matches (MN Kicks of old NASL, Eintracht Frankfurt while stationed in Germany) in the past but wouldn’t consider myself a fan and it would be a good number of years before I would come to follow the sport more closely.  The events of Hillsborough however stuck with me, and while news wasn’t nearly as easy to find out as it is in the age of the internet, I tried to follow this story for a couple reasons.  First, the simply tragedy of people attending a sporting event and paying for it with their lives had a mesmerizing effect on me, I was a huge sports fan and something like this just seemed alien to me. Second was the fact that clearly the story was being managed by the media and others, and it sure seemed like there was a lot more to the story than what was being let on.  Whenever there is a tragic event people point fingers (you only need to watch the news on any given night to see this), but this was a bit odd that those in charge of the match were pointing fingers at the victims and that just didn’t sit well with me.

As time went on I became more of a soccer fan, thanks to the 1994 World Cup and the launch of MLS (the old days at the Horseshoe, or Cotton Bowl) and slowly as the internet and cable/satellite TV provided coverage of soccer from England and Europe I found myself drawn to follow Liverpool, in part due to the passion, grit and refusal of their fans to allow the injustices of Hillsborough to sit.  If you don’t know much about what happened, well here is a short video Sky Sports did on the 20th anniversary:

It was about 6 years ago that I started writing about Hillsborough, and while those first couple of blogs posts have been lost to history.  Here are the links to the last 4 years:

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

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RSL vs SKC – 2013 MLS Cup Match Preview part II

So if you missed part one of my MLS Cup Preview you can check it out here.

To continue with my look at he matchups-

  • Midfield – This one is tough as it depends on where Graham Zusi lines up,  if he is in the midfield it is fairly even, but if he is up top as a forward then an edge to RSL.  Another key factor is which Benny shows up, if the Feilhaber of the regular season shows up then RSL is in good shape, if the guy who has stepped up in the playoffs is there, then it becomes a better battle.  Let’s be honest, Kyle Beckerman is better than Oriol Rosell, Ned Grabavoy is better than Benny over the course of the season, Luis Gil is better than Peterson Joseph and Javier Morales and Zusi are a wash.  Yeah I am saying edge to RSL.
  • Forwards – Edge RSL – A healthy Alvaro Saborio is a difference maker unlike anyone that Sporting can offer up, now Claudio Bieler is a damn good forward but his form of recent has been less than ideal. RSL can also offer up a very in form Robbie Findley, who had 6 regular season goals along with subs like Olmes Garcia with 5 goals, 4 assist in less than 1,000 minutes, or Devon Sandoval with 3 goals in under 900 minutes in the regular season, oh and Joao Plata. On the SKC side, I actually like Teal Bunbury and CJ Sapong but they seem to be a bit lost without Kei Kamara in the formation. Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer are wildcards but I give the edge here to RSL.
  • Intangibles – Edge SKC – I get the home field advantage but SKC was just 9-5-3 at home, not exactly dominating, but their 29 to 15 edge in goals scored was very impressive.   Sleeping in your own bed vs a hotel can be a big difference maker, but I imagine some of the weather issues may negate a bit of the home field advantage.  Clearly the SKC front office did their part to try and stack the crowd with as many home fans as possible and it is hard to blame them for that. One advantage RSL will have is experience, it is possible that 6 starters from the 2009 MLS Cup could be in the staring XI for RSL on Saturday (Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, and Robbie Findley), I don’t believe any SKC players have played in a MLS Cup before.
  • Overall – RSL – I know you will say that is a homer pick, but I think Sporting is a damn good team, however they aren’t the same team without Kei Kamara as they are with him.  Without that spark SKC just seems to be lacking that special factor, for RSL when Sabo went out with an injury it took just minutes for Devon Sandoval to step up and deliver big time results in big matches.  Unless someone does that for SKC on Saturday then I expect that RSL will win this match. 2-1

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OK RSL Family another chance to support a great cause

So a good friend of mine brought this cause to my attention and with just a day or so to go they have reached their goal on kickstarter but I thought maybe some of you would feel like helping out.

This is a letter that they sent out earlier in the week that sums up the cause:

Dear_____________

My dear friend, Dallas Graham, has created an inspirational publishing project giving critically ill children a voice. It’s called the Red Fred Project. He plans to publish 50 books created by 50 children with critical illnesses across the 50 states.

Dallas created the Red Fred Project after he learned about a friend’s child who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Having worked with terminally ill children previously, through photo-documentary projects, he merged the idea of having a child tell a story with a set of birds he had designed from commas and exclamation marks, named The Jolly Troop.

As a long time & close friend, I want to help him reach his funding goal! I believe this is worthwhile & have loved getting involved in. To help him with fundraising, I’m sharing a link to his Kickstarter campaign. You can watch his video and learn about donating to the project by clicking on this link:

www.tinyurl.com/redfred

If Dallas raises the funds for his goal, or surpasses the goal, the project will be funded; if he is $1 short of the funding goal by the time the campaign ends, no money leaves any donor’s account. It’s all or nothing!

All pledges are tax-deductible & he has 7 days left to raise approximately $45K.

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What a difference a year can make in the fight for the Truth and Justice for the Hillsborough 96

For 23 years since the tragic events of Hillsborough that cost 96 Liverpool fans their lives, have been hidden from the light, the truth was hidden by those trying to cover for their own mistakes and late last year when the Hillsborough Independent Panel report was made public it allowed the truth that the 96 were truly victims of a very tragic event.  It doesn’t matter if you are a Liverpool fan, a fan of soccer/football, when the truth is hidden from people, when lies are told about the victims of a crime it impacts everyone.

Now 24 years later, the truth is known about the events of April, 15th 1989 and while it cannot bring back those who lost their lives, it can provide a bit of closure, a little easing of the pain they have suffered for decades, now the fight can truly be for justice for those who lost their lives and for their families.  It is amazing to see how a city, which is most days divided by football, comes together on this issue to provide support to the families, on this day red or blue matters not, but on this day the people of Liverpool are one united in the search for Justice for the 96.

For me I remember watching the news coverage of the tragedy here in the States and wondering how such a tragic event could happen.  I had been to sporting events a various venues both in the US and in Europe, and at no time have I ever felt unsafe.  Yet the changes that came about as a result of the Hillsborough tragedy at venues around the globe have probably saved many lives, one is still left wondering how things could have gone so wrong on that day.  I was already a soccer fan, and while it would be almost a decade before Major League Soccer would kick off, and 5 years before the US hosted the World Cup, the events of that day and the reaction of the Liverpool families and fans in their fight for justice and the truth, are a large part of what has made me a Liverpool fan.   I remember last summer as I made a trip to see Liverpool play in Baltimore, how proud I was of US based fans to pay homage to the 96 in sign and song:

JFT96

 

It reminds me that often football goes far beyond just being fans, and as so many of us know here in Salt Lake, you club becomes a part of your family.

If you care to know more about what happened, or how the families and fans continue to fight for justice for those lost, check out the Liverpool site.

That’s How I See It