Our beloved Claret and Cobalt take on the Portland Timbers today at a rainy JELD-WEN Field. Both teams have performed very well in their first three games of the season. Both have just dropped games that should have gone for them, so both sides will be aiming to be as lethal as possible and get back on track with the top teams across the league.
One factor that has a possibility of being crucial is the playing surface. JELD-WEN is a turf pitch. Turf does not fit with RSL’s style of play because it causes the ball to take hard-to-predict skips across the surface of the artificial grass. Real likes to hold onto possession and keep the ball on the ground while Portland is content to knock it around.
The artificial surface could also hinder Real Salt Lake’s Jamison Olave who has lingering knee problems. In years past he has been kept out of turf encounters.
Real Salt Lake should be able to hold the Timbers back if they just really lock down defensively and play the counter attack.
LET’S GO REAL SALT LAKE!
Since 2005, when Real Salt Lake entered its first season of MLS soccer, Real’s fans have been privileged with some pretty fantastic kits generally speaking. There are of course exceptions. Every team goes through a few seasons with awful jerseys. RSL has never had the worst jerseys in the league, however, for the first few seasons when Real struggled to find an on-the-field identity, they also struggled to produce clean and unique kits.
The kits Real sported in its first season were very typical of an expansion side. This was back in the day when fans didn’t understand what the name Real Salt Lake even pertained to. Back when some of the naive and louder fans with little understanding for the sport shouted with all their might, “Go Reel!”
Yes that year was a struggle for the entire club as a whole. The jerseys were no exception. They lacked anything that would give RSL any kind of unique, recognizable look. The home strips were simply red with a goldenrod-ish yellow trim and the away kit was simply white and ugly. It came as no surprise that Real Salt Lake opted to get a new look for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Real added a lot more cobalt into their kit for the 2006-07 season. I personally think the main purpose of making the switch was because of the ugliness of the inaugural jersey and to get on the same jersey schedule as the rest of MLS.
RSL also moved away from the generally static and straight design of their first jersey and sported a jersey with many more curves in it for their first and second seasons.
Real Salt Lake has been criticized in years past for copying the jersey design of Spain’s national team. They used the same template and both teams used a lot of red in their home strip. Some people complained about this. Others were fine with it. After all, Spain has always had a nice clean kit!
Next up were the jerseys that Real Salt Lake won their first MLS Cup in in 2009. This time, the jersey update came in line with the rest of the MLS teams around the country. Real kept the iconic cobalt sleeves that differentiated them from other teams in MLS. Around this time was when RSL started to get their play together and build up an identity.
It can be noted that Real, like most other MLS teams, seems to stick to the all-white away strips. It often becomes hard to identify the visiting side when watching broadcasted MLS games because most of the teams have all-white away jerseys. Some of them look clean while others look out of place. Real Salt Lake probably has the best excuse for a white jersey being named after white-clad Spanish giants Real Madrid.
It can also be noted that Real featured in their first “third jersey” in 2008. In truth, it wasn’t a legit third jersey because it was only featured once for Earth Day against the San Jose Earthquakes in a US Open Cup qualifier in which RSL’s dominating victory was overshadowed by a huge collision between two San Jose players that both ended up suffering major concussions. There was a giant blood splotch on the ground and I kid you not, I was there.
All said though, Real does look pretty nice in green! If only they could have brought it back for the St. Patrick’s Day opener this year!
After winning the MLS Cup, Real came into the 2010 season with more change in their kit than ever before. Not only did they surprisingly move away from the cobalt sleeves (yes there is blue on the sleeves, but not all the way up the shoulders like in years past) on the home jersey, they also replaced the cobalt socks and shorts with claret duplicates. However, the 2010-2011 kits are probably my favorite. They’re very unique with their cleanliness. It’s also nice to see that our claret is a different shade of red from the rest of MLS’ red teams.
Real released their first official third jersey in 2010. The move had a lot to do with the entrance into the prestigious CONCACAF Champions League in which they made their historic run to the finals.
The colors of the jersey received mixed reaction from Real fans. They were officially released as “Victory Gold”. However, Real Salt Lake didn’t enjoy many victories in them. The only win they posted in the all-yellow kits was a 2-0 win against the Wilmington Hammerheads in one of the first rounds of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the summer of 2011. But despite only winning once, Real did actually do extremely well in the yellow jerseys. They posted several good road draws in the regular season. They also sported Victory Gold when they tied Monterrey 2-2 in Mexico in the first leg of the Champions League final.
I think that the shirts look great. But I’m not a big fan of the yellow-yellow-red look with the jersey, shorts, and socks.
Finally, the current jerseys sported by the Claret and Cobalt made a small wave as Real came halfway back to the all cobalt sleeves. Real features in their first asymmetrical kits ever. The look took a little while to get used to as most do. But I have to say that after my initial disappointment, the jerseys really grew on me and I think they’re really fantastic now!
Well there you have it! All the jerseys from beginning to current!
Go ahead and comment and tell me what you think!