SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake's first home game of the 2022 MLS season is Saturday, and fans can expect some new sights and features at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Among those will be a few hundred young fans who wouldn't normally have the chance to see RSL play in person. Team captain Damir Kreilach donated 100 tickets to underprivileged kids, who will sit in a section now called "Kreilach's Corner." The team's ownership pitched in 200 tickets, and Salt Lake City-based design company Infinite Scale added 100 more.
Those tickets will be given to underprivileged kids every home game this season, RSL President John Kimball said.
There will be some new designs in the stadium, such as a graffiti-style spray-painted mural with "The RioT" and a lion with a crown.
The club is also introducing and working on some new "interactive" features, Kimball said. There will be 300 flags for fans to wave, and other features still in the works such as a dedicated spot for fan photos.
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"We're just so excited," Kimball said. "Tomorrow, we're going to have a full stadium — 20,000 screaming fans — and part of that is the fan experience. We know how important home-field advantage is in the MLS, and in particular for our players. And we're just inviting the community to get back involved. They've responded and we're just completely stoked to have 20,000 fans out tomorrow."
Kimball also expressed his excitement for the first season under new ownership.
"It's so exciting to me to see everything headed in the right direction," he said. "I really feel the stars are aligning. We hit the lottery on ownership."
RSL is playing against the Seattle Sounders Saturday at 4 p.m. The two clubs are rivals, and that rivalry may be more intense than ever after former RSL coach Freddy Juarez recently joined Seattle as an assistant and midfielder Albert Rusnák left to join the Sounders after the end of last season.