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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:


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:


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.


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:


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:


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:


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.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).