Real Salt Lake communications team reveals some tasty tidbits in Reddit AMA

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Trey Fitz-Gerald and Sam Stejskal, Real Salt Lake’s head public relations honchos, held a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on Monday.

Here’s a link to the full version, which is worth a glance, but the best parts have been extracted here.

Editorial independence

Let’s start small. With the Major League Soccer website employing its own editorial team to write match reports, features, blogs and everything in between, there have been questions of its editorial independence.

While Stejskal did not say anything about the main MLS site’s independence and whether those stories are filtered to portray the league in the best possible light, he did say that the content on each club’s site is only subject to that club’s discretion, not the league’s:

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Every club has its own system of editing. As PR tends to be, some teams rival on the sycophantic, with hardly a negative word allowed near their URLs, while others are broader in their coverage and allowance.

RSL has always been on the latter side. In the smallest media market of MLS, the club seems to feel more of a responsibility to teach the game — RSL or otherwise — because of a dearth of coverage from independent publications.

When I spent a week in Salt Lake around the United States’ World Cup qualifier against Honduras, this was pretty obvious. I was the only media member at probably half of that week’s training sessions.

MLS Live

That feeling of responsibility to teach the game and find some way to reach out to the community extends to RSL’s policies on broadcasting. Anybody who subscribes to MLS Live, the league’s generally excellent streaming system that allows them to watch almost every game live, has been frustrated by blackouts.

Most games broadcast in local areas are blacked out so the channels do not lose viewers. MLS Live does not play each individual channel’s commercials, so advertisers could be less inclined to buy time if viewers are just going to watch online.

National broadcasts are also blacked out.

However, RSL does not black out its broadcasts in the Salt Lake valley:

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A couple of interesting facts from that response: first, it seems blackout rules are up to individual clubs and broadcasters to work out. Also, the notion of every broadcast being “a 2.5 hour commercial” for the club and the game is great justification for the policy.

Well done, RSL.

Twitter

While many clubs around the league use social media to keep fans up to date on the latest news surrounding the team, Real Salt Lake takes it a step further with regard to interaction.

Fitz-Gerald, who is in charge of the @RealSaltLake account, is never shy about retweeting stories and opinions, both positive and negative, and interacting with other teams’ accounts — with sometimes interesting consequences.

The man behind the iPhone gave Reddit a short discourse on his Twitter policy:

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An exchange between him and Sporting Kansas City’s fans came up in that thread as one example of other teams’ fans sometimes disliking the way RSL interacts on Twitter. True to form, Fitz-Gerald did not shy away from the disagreement regarding Chris Wingert’s collision with Kei Kamara:

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Say what you will, but it’s always nice to have honest, open interaction with an official from an MLS club. It makes them seem human, like the rest of us.

National coverage

Finally, let’s take a look at one of RSL’s favorite hobbyhorses: its lack of national television broadcasts:

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All things considered, Salt Lake really should get more airtime. If programmers are concerned about the size of television audiences, they could show only the games against big-market teams, such as the Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders.

With its style of play and recent success, everybody could use more RSL on their screens.

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

Hong Hae-in/Yonhap via AP
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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.