Real Salt Lake 2005
2005 Club by Club
Real Salt Lake's inaugural campaign offered several highlight-reel moments, most notably the diving Brian Dunseth header in the 81st minute against regional rival Colorado on April 16 that gave the new club a 1-0 win in its first-ever home contest., The emotional victory, played in front of 25,000-plus at Rice-Eccles Stadium and a live, national ESPN2 audience, imitated Dunseth's goal celebration, figuratively planting the RSL flag in the ground and establishing Major League Soccer in Utah.
In expansion terms, RSL burst out of the gates with a 3-3-2 record, three defensive clean sheets and 11 points, good for third place in the Western Conference through the first month-and-a-half of the campaign. Future head coach Jason Kreis, the team's captain at the time, scored the organization's inaugural goal April 9 at Los Angeles before a sell-out crowd of 27,000, one week after the squad drew 0-0 vs. New York at Giants Stadium, the club’s inaugural league match marred by a Nor'easter that rendered the ball hardly controllable on the turf. Kreis ended April by also recording the team's first-ever multi-goal game with a "brace" in a 2-2 draw against San Jose.
However, for the next two months Real Salt Lake struggled mightily, recording a 0-8-2 mark during a stretch that saw a record 556-minute scoring drought, as well as the team's first-ever own goals, dubiously recorded in back-to-back games. One bright spot during the stretch came in the stands, as more than 40,000 soccer fans attended a MLS/U.S. Soccer doubleheader on June 4, with none other than Landon Donovan lauding the Utah faithful for providing an overwhelming home-field advantage during the USMNT’s 3-0 victory in a World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica.
The winless streak came to a crashing halt during a Pioneer Day spectacular with a 3-0 win against FC Dallas. Former Burn defender Dunseth tallied the team's earliest goal in history in the game's 3rd minute, while Jordan Cila and Clint Mathis also scored in the first 30 minutes. RSL followed that game up with a fiery, 2-1 win at home on Aug. 6 against expansion brethren Chivas USA, a game which saw double red cards just 18 minutes in. Andy Williams owned a piece of history by scoring Major League Soccer's 5,000th goal early in the second half, while captain Kreis provided the 74th-minute game-winning goal.
Kreis again provided the metaphorical fireworks just four days later, becoming the first MLS player in the league's 10-year history to score 100 career goals, his blistering volley from 22 yards out blazing past Kansas City goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi and into the upper corner. That was the high point of the 2005 campaign, as the historic goal came in the midst of a 0-11-1 run after the Chivas win, RSL not tasting victory again until the season-ending "Chupacabra" exhibition game vs. Chivas at Rice-Eccles on Oct. 28, as both expansion teams watched the MLS Cup Playoffs from home.
Despite the expansion blues, hope sprang eternal as the season closed down with the announcement on October 12 by Real Salt Lake Owner Dave Checketts and Sandy City Mayor Tom Dolan, joined by Utah State Legislators John Valentine, Greg Curtis and Curt Bramble, that a plot of land on State Street in Sandy between 9000 and 9400 Southwould the be the site of the new RSL Stadium.
Expansion brethren, Chivas USA, quickly became a Western Conference nemesis, as did the Colorado Rapids, with fans of the league’s only two Mountain Time Zone denizens combining forces to create the Rocky Mountain Cup trophy for the season-series victor.