The Dynamo visit Real Salt Lake on Saturday (8:30 p.m. CT, HoustonDynamo.com/live) for the first of three meetings this season in what will surely be a special visit for Dynamo midfielder/defender Abdoulie Mansally. The Gambia native called Rio Tinto Stadium home for four seasons before he moved to the Dynamo in a trade this February.
“I am so excited (to play at Real Salt Lake),” Mansally told HoustonDynamo.com. “Salt Lake is a great city for me, and I consider it my home. They have great fans and I had good teammates, so for me going back is just like going back home. I am ready to go and give all I have to give three points.”
After five seasons with the New England Revolution, Mansally signed with Real Salt Lake in 2012 and made 49 regular-season appearances in four seasons. He was Real Salt Lake Humanitarian of the Year in each of the last two seasons for his work atop the Mansally Foundation, including the donation of soccer equipment to children in his hometown of Bangul, Gambia and helping others with school expenses.
“Demar Phillips and Aaron Maund were my closest friends, and I’ve been talking to them back and forth since I left,” Mansally said. “Kyle Beckerman and all those players are great guys and they have a great staff. Now, Houston is my home, so I am ready to go. Like I did for Salt Lake, I am ready to give all I have for the team and play in front of those fans again.”
The February trade from RSL to the Dynamo was convenient in timing as both clubs were staged in Arizona for preseason. After nine years in the cooler climes of Massachusetts and Utah, the Gambia international is happy to be in a city more similar to his African upbringing.
“It was difficult for me because I first lived in Boston, and it was cold, and then I went to Utah and it was cold again,” Mansally said. “And now in Houston, it is perfect for me. It is just like Africa, and I love the (warm) weather.”
Mansally and the Dynamo visit Real Salt Lake at 8:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday. The match will be streamed live in the U.S. at HoustonDynamo.com/Live, with a 30-minute pregame show beginning at 8 p.m.