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Real Salt Lake Will Attack In Mexico Leg of CONCACAF Champions League Final

Photo by Austin Tuckett

Conventional wisdom says Real Salt Lake should keep 10 men behind the ball in Monterrey Wednesday.

It won’t happen.

Coach Jason Kreis doesn’t know how to play for a scoreless draw. It’s not in his DNA. A high-energy striker when he played, Kreis brings the same attacking mentality to his side.

His team plays best when they are on the attack and possessing the ball. While every member of the team is expected to play defense, they will all be on attack as well. Kreis tried to change formations and play for a scoreless draw during a regular season match last season in Dallas. It backfired and the side gave up two late goals.

“I’m a bit critical of myself right now,” Kreis said after the match. “My feeling is we may have made the wrong decision by switching formations tonight.”

Salt Lake played attacking soccer for the remainder of the season. The away goal tiebreaker makes getting a goal in Monterrey even more desirable.

Salt Lake benefited from the away goal tiebreaker in the semifinal round.

When Jamison Olave scored in the 61st minute of the second leg, Salt Lake took a 3-1 lead and the away goal tiebreaker. Saprissa went from needing one goal to needing three. Given this reality, the Costa Rican side, and their raucous crowd, folded.

“Obviously it’s ecstasy at that moment,” Kreis said of Olave’s goal. “That one goal got us to the next leg.”

Even without the tiebreaker, Salt Lake played strong attacking soccer last time they were in Mexico – a memorable 5-4 loss at Cruz Azul during group play.

“We came down here and did what we set out to do, which was not to sit back and defend the entire match,” Kreis said after the match. “We came out here and tried to put our best foot forward and go on the attack, and if you can put up four goals on Cruz Azul at their place you have to say you’ve done that.”

Kreis and his team believe they can play with anyone, anywhere. By their standards, the conservative attack used in the semifinal was restraint.

This time, Salt Lake doesn’t come in with a 2-0 lead. They certainly will play for at least one away goal.

They won’t be intimidated, either. Salt Lake has already passed that trial by fire.

Saprissa’s stadium (“The Monster’s Cave”) is known as one of the most intimidating in the region. It’s said to be so loud that road teams are typically unable to communicate in the locker room. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando literally had flashlights thrown at him during the match. Salt Lake survived there. They even overcame an early second-half goal.

“I’m looking out there at the guys to see if … we’re going to lose our stuff and continue to kind of go in a downward spiral,” Kreis said of his team’s reaction to the goal. “I think we kept it together pretty well. That’s another bit of evidence of [the team] being a mature group.”

While Monterrey’s stadium will be hostile, it’s hard to imagine the crowd rattling this veteran team or convincing them to play for a draw.

Expect fireworks Wednesday.

Tyler G. Page covers Real Salt Lake for and

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  1. The original Tom

    April 21, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Well that sucked. I though Monterrey were the better team. Good goal by Morales. Should be a good second leg, both teams are in it.

    The double sub in the first half was wierd.

  2. dcudiplomat96

    April 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Again some of y’all comparing other Concacaf countries who who have two champions instead of one LOL yalll so damn funny., Like I said before the CCL isn’t american friendly, its just a side tournement at best, practically the CWC is too because nobody really is paying much attention to it. Either. So if RSL wins so what that’s. Nice doesn’t prove much of nothing I mean RSL made it that far because of the 2009 MLS cup team. So practically its old news

    • Robert

      April 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      Some people say I’m a MLS hater but at least I’m coherent and people understand my point of view. I have no idea what you are trying to say.

      • Charles

        April 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm

        Go ahead and answer this.

        Are you an MLS Hater ?
        Name three things you love about MLS.

        • bradjmoore48

          April 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm

          Charles – Why don’t you name three things you like about European/World soccer? Otherwise, no one has to pledge themselves to loving everything about MLS to make opinions about it, so your keep your judgmental gob shut. You’re just as much a troll as these so-called MLS haters you speak of.

          • Charles

            April 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm

            I just finished watching Man U versus Newcastle. ( I don’t watch them live too much as it is 4:30 in the AM on Saturday…plus not like anyone is going to tell me the scores, so it works very nicely. UEFA is the same way, Fox Soccer plays them locally if you don’t…and lets face it how would you…know the score )

            It wasn’t a very good game, sloppy. But I will give it a go. EPL, I don’t get any other league…Soccer Made In Germany quit broadcasting years ago…look it up in wiki MLS Hater Trolls.

            1 – The defense is very good. Even on the very weak teams.
            2 – The history is VERY cool. Where DC United just decided to pull the name out because…well I don’t know why…Newcastle was from two different teams UNITING..hence the name.
            As a side note to that MLS trying to start over with US soccer was just STUPID. Whitecaps and Sounders have played 112 times now.
            3 – The UEFA tourney is very exciting.
            4 – I even like Pro/Rel, pretty cool in concept. Reality, especially in the US, completely different story.

            I have a lot more than three obviously. OK MLS Hater Trolls, pretend it is snowing in hell !
            Give me a break, that will NEVER happen, they don’t even watch soccer. Period.

            The only real problem that I have with Euro soccer is the leagues are run sooooo badly. They actually aren’t run at all, right ?
            Money wins, next season, money wins again.

          • Charles

            April 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

            Hello ? bradjmoore48 ?

            I didn’t think you were one of them, but I am starting to think otherwise.

            You or Robert care to answer the original question.
            Pretty easy really…3 things you love about MLS.

  3. Johnny V

    April 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I dislike the fact that they took out the name Champions cup and renamed it the Champions League just because they wanted it to be the same as the Eroupean version. Thats crap!! not everything in the MLS or concacaf have to be like Europe. The Champions Cup had a lot of history that was jsut taken away cause they thought Americans will pay more attention with the name Champions League, Crap!!, I remember in 98 DC United won the competition that was a great team. and the only reason Real is in the final is becuase they changed the rule that they do not want two teams from the same counrty in the final, because they know Mexicans clubs always reach the final.This tournament is corrupt and run by americans that are doing everything possible that mls dominates and wins the competition.

    • The original Tom

      April 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      There’s no rule preventing both teams in the final coming from the same country. It is a random draw, it just worked out that way this time.

    • SJEarthquakes fan

      April 21, 2011 at 3:41 am

      Is that why the 2009 and 2010 Concacaf Champions league final *didn’t* have an all Mexican team final? Stop that utterly ridiculous conspiracy.

  4. Kbrito Arellano

    April 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Hi All.

    I’m from Monterrey City and I hope today both do a great Job on the field, i saw a few games of RSL and I like the strong teams and with a lot of heart, but today is a different match because, of the experince will be determinating in all the develope of the game.

    welcome to Monterrey.

  5. Adel Taarabt

    April 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I hope RSL goes through so the uefa cl winner can beat them 20-0

  6. dcudiplomat96

    April 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Seriously Major media isn’t gonna care probably most american sports fans aren’t gonna care if not hear about the CCL final anyway. Its not american friendly. Plus its during the regular season so makes no sense. Also sense when did The American Sports fanfare or culture doesnt care about what’s going on else where like europe or south america. Unless its Team USA against X then maybe american sports fans will care only if u beat. That X team. Did you learn any thing from Past world cups….? Exactly.

    • Dave C

      April 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      “It’s during the regular season so makes no sense”
      It’s at the END of the season for most of the other countries in Concacaf, so it makes plenty of sense.

      Also sense when did The American Sports fanfare or culture doesnt care about what’s going on else where [sic]

      Well EPL seems to be continually increasing in popularity in the US. And the Olympics and World Cup seem to pull in plenty of US viewers.

  7. Vince Clortho

    April 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    When a competition involves all regional leagues who are not on the same seasonal schedule of course the competition will have a different time line. This team has certainly proven they can roll with it. It’s silly to think that any team in the world wouldn’t want to represent their confederation at a club level.

    A championship now would become a classic. 10 years from now with nostalgia we can look back and say ‘I remember the days when…’

    Carpe Diem boys!

    • Alex

      April 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      hopefully there wouldnt be nostalgia about this championship win or lose because hopefully MLs franchise clubs will be in the finals so many times the only nostalgia we’ll have is the nostalgia about when we didnt get to the CCL finals.

  8. dcudiplomat96

    April 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I guess u can say good luck, I can’t see really what the big deal is, I mean RSL qualified for this tourney back in MLS cup 2009. To be honest this is a joke, because why would you play a soc called championship game in the middle of the season?. Its just another stupid useless eurosnob sideshow. If you want MLS to take something like the CCL any seriously, then it needs to be reformatted as a single elimination Post season Playoff After the MLS Cup championship. Again soccer only people don’t get it. Even if the RSL wins out which they probably won’t. You won’t really hear about it in mainstream news or sport. Maybe a small segment locally. But overall the CCL the way its formatted doesn’t help RSL MLS or american soccer at all. Americans can take the soccer but leave the eurocrap in Europe. They don’t know how to win championships anyway!

    • Alex

      April 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      “They don’t know how to win championships anyway!”

      hmmmm…..seeing how Spain and Holland both made it to the WC finals (both euro nations fyi) and how UEFA and EPL are two of the worlds most watched soccer competitons and how a Euro club always wins the Fifa Club WC and how every players dream is to play in europe…….no you’re right they dont know how to win championships.

      Jeez go back to your throwball or baseball or anyother yankee sport and leave soccer to the smart people. ive read your comments before. you want to bring back the shootouts, shot clocks, a skill based all star weekend event like NBA, and i bet you think “timbers” and “earthquakes” are appropriate names for soccer clubs. this is what happens when garber targets the casual fan, you get people like this dunce who thinks they know how to run a league when the whole world has been doing it longer and better than USA has their whole history. J-league is just as old as MLS yet is light years ahead of MLS and they had no help from you. whats holding this league back are people in power who share your thoughts. give me a break and just go root for your Washington Nationals……what a cute name.

      • Robert

        April 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm

        DCU, I thought MLS already ditched your type back in MLS 1.0? The pend ilium is slowly swinging to the masses. Soccer is a global sport and maybe you should go watch commercials with sport breaks between if you don’t like the soccer setup.

      • bandeeto

        April 20, 2011 at 4:18 am

        Alex, I agree with much in your reply to DCU, however your point of view is not much better. You are so high on European superiority that you frown on MLS without reason. “Newells Old Boys” is no better that Earthquakes or Timbers for a name. The Earthquakes is a name with history and significance to Bay Area soccer fans. Just because you don’t care for Earthquakes or Timbers, and I don’t think you HAVE to you obviously don’t, and know the correct way to pronounce “Reading” doesn’t make your opinion on what is an appropriate name for a soccer team correct. It’s pretty ignorant actually… similarly ignorant to what DCU said.
        Also the J-league, i agree it is a very entertaining league, is not “light years” ahead of MLS in quality of play or infrastructure. MLS teams matched up against J-league teams quite well when they’ve played. they do get higher attendance figures, and TV ratings, but they don’t have the NFL, NHL, and NBA and NASCAR to compeat against. At any rate your comment was, again, ignorant.
        Then again, these are my opinions, and there’s room for all kinds of fans in MLS. that’s why i love it like i do.
        @ DCU, I disagree with much of what you said, but i’m glad that you care enough to follow and comment on what’s going on.

        • Charles

          April 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm

          >>>>and there’s room for all kinds of fans in MLS.

          ummm, you are replying to Alex, he considers the league unwatchable. He is like talking to a brick wall (without the intelligence ).

      • Charles

        April 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

        A Euro club ALWAYS wins the Club World Cup ?

        you have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Dave C

      April 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      It may be in the middle of the US soccer season, but it’s at the end of the season for Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, etc etc. Only T&T has a season similar to the MLS season, from a quick five mins of research on wiki.

  9. The original Tom

    April 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I’m rooting against RSL but I hope both games are entertaining for the sake of the league.

    Regarding the article – I don’t find bunkering it “logical.” Teams did that in the old days, but you may have noticed that soccer has moved on since then. See this year’s UEFA Champions League quarter finals. Although you could article Monteray is more imtimidating than the top class, but comfortabe stadiums of Euorpe. But I counter that since Monteray is closer to Utah than half the MLS teams, both teams should go for it in both games.

  10. Vince Clortho

    April 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Arguing over MLS vs Club is stupid. The individual members play for RSL which is a team in MLS. IF RSL wins the success is shared by both. I don’t really care who’s ‘success’ would be greater. As an RSL fan it’s just very satisfying and entertaining to watch this team win with style, effort, balls, etc….

    I will be at the return leg and hopefully watch the team hoist the trophy in front of the home crowd…It gives me goosebumps just to consider the possibility.

  11. rbny4me

    April 19, 2011 at 10:28 am

    yeah i agree i understand why people wouldn’t want to root for RSL, but i’m rooting for them as a red bulls fan. i want them to win and go to the club world cup and prove that MLS isn’t a bush league.

  12. Alex

    April 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    RSL has their work cut out for them but im sure they’ll win and if they dont then im sure they’ll put up a hell of a fight.

    the way i see it RSL should only represent Salt Lake City. i know they play in MLS and “represent MLS” but other mls clubs shouldnt share in RSL glory. they had their chance and failed. Its all about RSL tonight.

    • Robert

      April 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      This might be true but all players sign with MLS and not individual franchises. So technically MLS is in the CCL final but represented by Salt Lake.

      • Alex

        April 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm

        i know robert that MLS signs players and “loans” them out to different franchise clubs (which i am extremely against. there should be full autonomy) but im just tired of RSL holding the MLS banner for garber and the rest of the clubs. they got there all by themselves they deserve the credit. and im also tired of garber giving the credit to himself and his single entity style enterprise. i remember back in ’08 in the copa libertadores finals between LDU Quito and Fluminense. as a sign of alliance, fluminense’s arch rivals which i believe is either corinthians or Sao Paolo gave LDU Quito’s head coach a Sao Paolo/Corinthians (which ever is the arch rival of flu’) jersey as good luck against Fluminense. Fluminense represented the brazilian league but no one in brazil except for the Flu’ fans wanted Fluminense to win. im not trying to rant but i believe (despite RSL just being a franchise of MLS) that all glory and credit should go to RSL and no one else. not garber, not the other franchise clubs, no one except RSL and the good people of salt lake city. i wish them good luck.

    • Charles

      April 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      I agree with you Alex, but you can understand someone like me rooting for Salt Lake. Outside of the MLS Hater Trolls, this is our league…a struggling one in some aspects, on the way to being great in others, but our league.
      I guess I could not care at all, the Sounders stunk in Monterreys group and should have finished second, but didn’t so better luck next year….. but I do care. I want Salt Lake to win.
      I wish it were the Sounders that were remembered for being this good no doubt.

      Good luck Salt Lake, enjoy

      Robert, give me a break, give it a rest.

      • Robert

        April 19, 2011 at 10:41 am


        Give what a break? Those are the facts. Players sign with the league and not franchises. Don’t be mad that Seattle’s group of MLS players choked in CCL.

      • Alex

        April 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

        charles i agree with you to a extent. i can see how people take pride in MLS despite its bush league status around the world (no offense. i myself am a potential fan of MLS, im still yet to find mls watchable) i was rooting for Seattle SOunders FC. but idk. i hope RSL wins.

        and as for your view of MLS’s system, MLS is basically one huge corporation with individual yet equal franchises. exactly like McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks. so i agree with robert no matter who goes to the finals in the end its MLS, just with a different name and crest.

        • Robert

          April 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

          Thanks Alex.

        • Charles

          April 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm

          MLS is unwatchable

          I love comments like this, because the poster comes across as such a twit.
          You have to agree with that Alex ?

    • Sancho

      April 19, 2011 at 9:05 am

      It’s not true yet, Alex. Today, all MLS is Real Salt Lake in CCL finals.

      The day that a MLS club will only represent itself internationally it is the day that MLS is seen -both domestically and internationally- as a strong and competitive league.

      Real Salt Lake is two games from the first step towards it…

  13. Miguel

    April 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    RSL will win the CONCACAF championship.. I declared it.

  14. duder

    April 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Go get ’em RSL!

  15. I. Leyva

    April 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Good luck next Wednesday. Monterrey (both teams, Rayados and Tigres) has the most exciting and faithful fans in Mexico, and you guys will feel the special energy that the Rayados’ fans give to their squad. Welcome to Monterrey, home of Mexico’s current champion, los Rayados de Monterrey

  16. Robert

    April 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Good Luck Salt Lake!

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