Friday, June 27, 2008

DEPORTIVA SAPRISSA: Real Madrid Replacement #2

RSL Adds Defending Costa Rican Champions to July 23 Event
at Rice-Eccles Stadium for International Exhibition #10 All-Time

(Courtesy of RSL Communications)

SALT LAKE CITY (Friday, June 27, 2008) – Once again advancing its tradition of bringing world-class international competition to the State of Utah, Real Salt Lake today announced that Costa Rican power Deportivo Saprissa will serve as the club’s opponent for the team’s annual Pioneer Day Fireworks festivities. The teams square off on Wednesday, July 23 at 8:00 p.m. MT at Rice-Eccles Stadium, just two weeks after the third consecutive XanGo Cup, as the 2008 edition welcomes Mexican titlist Santos Laguna on Wednesday, July 9, at Rice-Eccles Stadium, with an 8:00 p.m. MT kickoff.

Deportivo Saprissa, known also as simply Saprissa, is owned by Mexican entrepreneur Jorge Vergara, who also currently owns famed Mexican soccer club Chivas de Guadalajara as well as RSL’s MLS expansion brethren, CD Chivas USA. The squad has served as the backbone of the Costa Rican National Team since the late 1980’s, often contributing a dozen players to the “Ticos” for international tournaments. RSL is unbeaten in its last four international friendlies, winning three times and drawing once.

Tickets for the 2008 Pioneer Day Event at Rice-Eccles Stadium featuring RSL vs. Saprissa and post-game fireworks are included in 2008 Royal Club Season Ticket packages as Bonus Ticket C. Royal Club members will also have an exclusive window to purchase additional tickets through Monday, June 30, at 12:00 p.m., at which time tickets will go on sale to the general public at all UTIX outlets, by phone at (801) 581-UTIX, and online at Tickets for the contest reflect 2008 RSL regular-season pricing of $17 (North Goal), $19 (Corner Flag), $28 (Premium) and $40 (VIP), with $16 KFC “Colonel’s Corner” vouchers available at 35 KFC locations across the Wasatch Front.

Deportivo Saprissa hails from San Juan de Tibás, San José, Costa Rica, and plays home games at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa (La Cueva). Saprissa is one of the most successful clubs in North America having won the CONCACAF Champions' Cup three times - in 1993, 1995, and 2005. Saprissa owns the most final appearances in the CONCACAF Champions Cup with 3 first place finishes and 4 runners-up finishes.

They have also won five Central American crowns in 1972, 1973, 1978, 1998, and 2003 as well as 27 Primera División de Costa Rica championships (the most of any team). Arguably their most notable moment came in 2005 as they became the first, and so far only, non-Mexican club in CONCACAF to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup, finishing in third place. The club's success has led to the Costa Rican press nicknaming the team El Monstruo Morado ("The Purple Monster"), a reference to their purple-coloured playing kit.

The exhibition against Saprissa marks the second international exhibition of 2008 for Real Salt Lake, which will have contested nine international opponents in its first three-plus seasons leading into Pioneer Day 2008. Last year, Real Salt Lake welcomed four international teams to the Wasatch Front, recording wins over the Fiji and China National Team selections in the spring before taking on English Premier League representative Everton FC and legendary Argentine side Boca Juniors in the first-ever XanGo Cup doubleheader across the Pioneer Day weekend. Wins over Fiji, China, and Everton, and a draw with Boca Juniors have brought RSL’s all-time record in international friendlies to 4-2-2, entering the upcoming matches vs. title-holders Santos (Mexico) and Saprissa (Costa Rica) this July.

Date Opponent Result
June 8, 2005 Universidad Catolica (Chile) 3-2 W
August 24, 2005 Harbour View FC (Jamaica) 1-1 T
July 19, 2006 Monarcas Morelia (Mexico) 1-3 L
*August 12, 2006 Real Madrid (Spain) 0-2 L
April 18, 2007 Fijian National Team 3-0 W
June 7, 2007 Chinese National Team 1-0 W
*July 21, 2007 Everton FC (England) 2-0 W
*July 24, 2007 Boca Juniors (Argentina) 1-1 T
*July 9, 2008 Santos Laguna (Mexico) 8:00 p.m. MT
July 23, 2008 Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica) 8:00 p.m. MT