While there aren’t any native Utahns playing on the world stage, the Beehive state is still represented through the United States competing in the international tournament for the first time in eight years and one player from Real Salt Lake (RSL) playing for “club-and-country.”
It is the first time since 2014 the United States has competed in the World Cup. The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced out the group stages into the Round of 16 Knockout stages, only to be eliminated by Belgium in a heartbreaking 2 to 1 defeat. The Americans missed out on the 2018 World Cup after failing to qualify after losing 2 to 1 in draw-or-win game against Trinidad and Tobago in 2017.
RSL’s defender Bryan Oviedo was called to play for his native Costa Rica in Group E of the World Cup, playing against Japan, Spain and Germany. As a player on the international stage, Oviedo will not only be representing his home country, he will also be representing the quality of training and players found here at home with Real Salt Lake.
Oviedo is still new to the Wasatch Front, joining Real Salt Lake in August. Since then, Oviedo has stared in seven matches, claiming two assists in a critical match against the Portland Timbers. His appearance in the World Cup gives Utahns someone close to home to root for as Costa Rica takes on tough contenders.
The U.S. kicks off its World Cup run in Group B on Monday, Nov. 21 at noon against Wales. The U.S. will continue its World Cup chase with a highly-anticipated match against England at noon on Friday, Nov. 25 before closing the group stage against Iran on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at noon.
Oviedo and Costa Rica begins their World Cup run against Spain on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 9 a.m. before taking on Japan on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 3 a.m. Costa Rica’s group stage efforts will end with a challenging game against Germany on Thursday, Dec. 1 at noon.