1 - The Late Late Show
Orlando City and Real Salt Lake last met on Opening Day 2016. Joao Plata scored two goals to give RSL a 2-0 lead heading into second-half stoppage time. In the 94th minute, Cyle Larin found the end of defender Brek Shea’s cross to bring the Lions within one. Then in the fifth minute of stoppage, Adrian Winter got on the end of Servando Carrasco’s Hail Mary to equalize and sent City’s second consecutive Opening Day crowd of over 60,000 into a delirium with the Lions’ second stoppage-time equalizer to begin a season.
In their first meeting between both teams on July 4, 2015, Kaká found the back of the net and was later shown a straight red card as the Lions battled for a 1-1 draw.
2 - Flying To The Windy City
Jason Kreis’ No. 9 was retired by Real Salt Lake nearly six years ago to the week on July 4, 2011, making him the first MLS player to have his number retired. Kreis scored the fist goal in RSL history - and became the first player to score the first goal for two clubs, having scored Dallas’ first goal in 1996 - and retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 108 goals.
Today he ranks sixth on the all-time scoring list in MLS with 108 goals. Kreis currently ranks ninth on RSL’s all-time scoring list with 17 goals in 58 appearances and was the first-ever player to beat the 100-goal mark while at RSL.
The jersey retirement ceremony took place after a 3-3 draw against New England Revolution. City mid elder Will Johnson and Luis Gil started the match for RSL. Johnson opened the scoring for RSL in the 23rd minute after two early New England Revolution goals.
3 - King Of The Royals
Lions head coach Jason Kreis will face his former team of nine years on Friday. Kreis was the first player in Real Salt Lake history after being acquired via trade by the then-expansion team in 2004. He made 58 appearances over parts of three seasons for the team and scored 17 goals, including the first goal in RSL history. Kreis also scored the first goal in Dallas history, making him the only player to complete the feat for two franchises.
Kreis became the youngest active coach in MLS at 34 when he accepted RSL’s head coaching position midway through 2007, retiring from his playing career as MLS’ all-time leading scorer with 108 goals. Under Kreis, Real Salt Lake made the playoffs for the first time in its history in 2008 and won MLS Cup in 2009. He also led RSL to the CONCACAF Champions League Final in 2011 and MLS Cup Final in 2013. Kreis remains the youngest head coach to win MLS Cup.
4 - Club Connections
Orlando City mid elder Will Johnson played five years under Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis from 2008-12. During Kreis’ tenure, Johnson scored the 2008 MLS Goal of the Year and selected to the 2009 MLS All-Star team. The mid elder played the first half of Real Salt Lake’s victory against LA Galaxy for the 2009 MLS Cup.
Luis Gil, Donny Toia and Josh Saunders will also face their former team. Gil made 145 MLS regular and postseason appearances for RSL from 2011 to 2015. Toia was the club’s first Homegrown signing in 2011 at 18 years old. Saunders made three appearances for RSL in 2013.
Additionally, Orlando City defender Conor Donovan and Real Salt Lake mid elder Jordan Allen were teammates on the United States 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad. The U.S. made it to the quarterfinals after finishing second in their group.
5 - The Bosses
Lions assistant coaches C.J. Brown and Miles Joseph have been with head coach Jason Kreis since 2010, when the two former players were brought on at Real Salt Lake. After four successful years with the Royals, the duo followed Kreis to New York City FC for its inaugural season and then to Orlando City in mid-2016.