Making history: Real Salt Lake hosts historic home opener

For the state of Utah, the occasion is arguably as big as Oct. 15, 1979. That’s when the Utah Jazz, the state’s only other professional sports franchise, opened its doors to the public. On that day, the Jazz lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Salt Palace in front of an announced crowd of 7,867.

One week later, the Jazz had their first win as a Utah franchise, 110-109 over the then-San Diego Clippers.

Real Salt Lake started off its campaign in a different fashion, playing to a 0-0 draw at the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and earning its first-ever point. The winds and sheets of rain played tricks with the ball in cavernous Giants Stadium, however, RSL goalkeeper D.J. Countess thwarted the weather and two well-placed shots on goal to preserve the clean sheet. Last week in L.A.’s Home Depot Center, it was the Landon Donovan Show as the U.S. national team starter scored first in the 19th minute, then tallied again on a header in the second half to lead the L.A. Galaxy to a 3-1 victory over RSL. This week, Real Salt Lake hosts the Colorado Rapids, a team with an identical record (0-1-1) and nearly the same goal difference. Solid goalkeeping, veteran defenses and midfields predicated on possession are trademarks of both teams. If not for the big names on Real’s roster, one would swear they were the same team. The difference in this match, however, will be the festive atmosphere, a crowd that could reach 30,000, a national TV audience and a much-needed win for either club.

Oh, and did I mention it was a first-ever rivalry game?

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