For Real Salt Lake, MLS And US Soccer, A Magical Night Awaits

On Wednesday night, a historical 90 minutes will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium when a member of Major League Soccer will once again tackle a tough and worthy opponent that plays their club soccer in Mexico. The second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final will determine who has earned the right to travel to Japan and perform against other Champions League winners in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Now it’s simple for an outsider or those who don’t care about what happens within this confederation because it’s not the Copa Libertadores of South American or the Champions League of Europe. I never said it was on par with both of those two historic international club tournaments, but for those of us that support this American first division, we have been waiting for this moment.

This is the opportunity that must be taken seriously and will be lead by head coach Jason Kreis. The rivalry between Mexico and the USA that we have seen many times in friendly games, Gold Cup Finals and World Cup Qualifying will continue Wednesday night. But now a chance to defeat Monterrey and hoisting the title at home would be the biggest celebration in US soccer history.

If the first part is achieved then the next part will come towards the end of this calendar year. How many times have most of you heard from those who support the clubs and national teams of Europe that a MLS side will never be as good as these clubs and the only time you will face them is when they are on these pre-season tours? What happens if Real Salt Lake gets that chance to face the European Cup winner in the final? Well first off they must defeat the African representative and then the Copa Libertadores champion. After all that then the bright golden glow will be shining in front of them to face Manchester United, Schalke, Barcelona or Real Madrid.

But before all of this can be achieved, Real Salt Lake must take care of step number one and that is defeating Monterrey on aggregate. This isn’t about winning the match anymore. It’s about winning that aggregate to win the championship. All the pressure is on RSL to make this happen as they will be without Kyle Beckerman due to yellow card accumulation. They will be carrying many flags on the field of Rio Tinto Stadium.

The first two flags will be of their club and the State of Utah because this moment is for them. The third flag will be for our first division league in Major League Soccer because this tournament is a high priority to show the world that this league has improved and to rip the blinders of the critics off their eyes. The fourth flag will be for US Soccer as they will earn some more respect in the world’s game and show our neighbors below that our clubs are catching up to the Mexican Primera Division. The final flag will be our nation’s flag as RSL will be representing us, American Soccer fans young and old.

Now I understand that there will be some fans who are big time rivals of RSL that will be hoping this doesn’t happen and I understand why. It’s not fun getting heckled when your major rival wins something that you want to get, but just this once I ask of you to put aside your hate and think about the league and the progress that RSL has helped to make this possible.

Real Salt Lake will be playing a historical final ninety minutes of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. This is the biggest moment in MLS and US Soccer history as something special will happen. But the slogan is very true and I am proud to say that I am for RSL.

20 thoughts on “For Real Salt Lake, MLS And US Soccer, A Magical Night Awaits”

  1. Brit gunner fan here, and now a keen follower of all things MSL (and a big fan of this blog). Very impressed with the stides your league has taken over the last few years, and RSL to getting this stage of the champions league is absolutely massive. Big up the RSL.

    Does anyone know where/if we can see this game on tv in the UK?


    1. Let’s try that again:

      Don, the official CONCACAF website will carry a live stream of the game. The site requires free registration in order to view.

      I’m so stoked for this match. I started attending RSL matches last season after the shock MLS Cup title, and this year I bought season tickets. I’ve had friends who don’t normally care for the sport asking if I can get tickets. It’s been amazing to see all the national press the team has received for this achievement.

      It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a trophy of this magnitude awarded in person, and I hope we can represent all the flags carried out.

  2. Don, if the CONCACAF Official website doesn’t help there is Hope that gives you help as well. This is going to be exciting and please everyone, when your done watching the match head over to my live post match show 1AM EDT – 10PM PDT. Two hours of post match coverage and hopefully no extra time.

    Go back to the home page of MLS Talk and scroll down to the post with the player on it.

  3. MLS teams have won the CONCACAF Champions League several times before, not sure why you’re making this out to be some major leap forward for MLS?

    1. The last time an MLS team won the CONCACAF Champions League it was not tied to a birth in the FIFA club world cup. This is a pretty big deal in terms of putting MLS on the world stage.

      1. I didn’t realize it would put MLS on the world stage via the Club World Cup.

        With looking it up, what teams/leagues were put on the world stage in last years Club World Cup? Or the year before that?

        1. Without looking it up either, the World Club Cup/Club World Cup or whatever it’s called features the champions of each confederation. I can’t remember the exact teams involved, but I think last time round, it involved Barca, Liga de Quito (Ecuador), and teams from Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, N. Zealand and maybe S. Korea too.

          1. Yeah I know how the CWC works, my point was that going doesn’t capatult a league on the “world stage” any more than the New Zealand team was catpulted onto the “world stage” last year, etc.

    2. To DLH: When DC United & LA Galaxy won the CONCACAF Champions Cup. There was no league stage back then. Quarters, Semis & Final. And Wallace is correct, no FIFA Club World Cup. That tournament was always between UEFA Cup Winner Vs. South American Cup Winner. Now it’s expanded RSL could be the first MLS Side to be in that tournament at the end of the 2011 Football Calendar year.

      1. Yeah I know about the Intercontinental Cup, etc.

        I bet if RSL win you will hear almost nothing from MLS about the Club World Cup- first, because it will be in the middle of MLS’s offseason (also know as “middle of the season” in the rest of the world) and second because MLS rarely publicizes competitve matches against non-MLS competition.

  4. Daniel,

    Looking ahead ( sort of, as I will watch even if it is Monterrey )
    Do you know if the pairings are already set for Japan ?

    Does Europe and South America get buys and always play the winners of the other continents ? Or does Africa get the buy this time because they made the finals ?

    Any info appreciated.

    1. According to wikipedia the Semi finals still have Uefa and Conmebol Sloted, so basically FiFa doesn’t. Recognize the work of that african team from last season and pretty much makes the CWC worthless.

    2. Charles. The Asian AFC Clubs will play each other in one Quarterfinal, then they will face the UEFA Winner in the Semis.

      Other bracket will be the African CAF Club rep Vs the CONCACAF Rep in the Quarters, Winner to the Semis to face the Libertadores Rep. Semi-Final winners face each other in the final.

      Both UEFA & CONMEBOL Gets an automatic bye into the Semis.

      1. It sucks the african slot should be a semi spot. But doesn’t matter at this point know I guess. Its not like anyone gonna remember tonights game nationally anyway, with all the NHL and NBA playoffs.

  5. Exciting times. RSL are who I’d like to see win the MLS Cup and Supporter’s Shield (after SJ of course :) ) just to go into it as champions not even a month earlier. None of the teams will be slouches in that competition, including RSL. Really excited for them, their fans, and MLS.

    On another note, thanks Daniel for a great, passionate article about the implications of this match. I enjoy reading and listening to your stuff because you come across as a true fan should. Keep up the good work!

  6. Thank you very much Alan. I try to put alot of passion into my writting and in my podcast shows. Hopefully you can scroll down and listen to the post game show.

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