That was how Real Salt Lake finished their first season as a club. Under coach John Ellinger, RSL came in second to last in the West, and second to last in the league beating out expansion sibling Chivas USA by 2 points in the standings. No playoffs, no cup births, and not a lot to talk about.
Real Salt Lake as we know it today is an entirely different beast. Perennial Western Conference power and league contender better serve to describe what RSL has become.
I want to take some time to look back at the early years of Real Salt Lake history, touching on milestones and events of note as we celebrate 10 years as a club.
As I said above, 2005 was a year that so many of us in the valley were excited for. Finally a Major League Soccer franchise was making it’s way to Salt Lake. Opening up play at Rice Eccles stadium, expectations for the team were mixed. John Ellinger had been brought on as head coach after a long stint as the Director of Youth Development for the US Soccer Youth Academy at Bradenton. Ellinger was the youth coach for so many of the players in todays USMNT pool (Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Eddie Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, etc). With only one stint as an assistant coach at the professional level, Crew ‘96, this would be his shot at the big show as it were.