Preview: Can RSL Advance to CCL Finals?

Real Salt Lake Fans

Photo by Scott Dierdorf

Real Salt Lake has landed in Costa Rica and are prepared for tonight’s kickoff.  Tonight RSL will take on FC Saprissa on their home turf with the aggregate winner advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League Final.  Kickoff is 10 PM Eastern time.  RSL holds a 2-0 aggregate lead thanks to their victory over El Monstruo Morado two weeks ago, and with the away goal tie breaker in place, may simply have to steal a goal to advance.

While RSL may have the lead, their test tonight is not an easy one.  Saprissa was named the most successful club of the 20th century in the CONCACAF region by IFFHS.  They are the only CONCACAF club outside of Mexico to play in the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup and finished third.  One of the players for that Saprissa club was Alvaro Saborio, now facing his long-time teammates on his old home field.  Saborio played for Saprissa from 2001-2006 so he knows what the atmosphere will be like.

Because of the away goal rule and their lead, Real may be able to grab an early goal and sit on the lead, forcing Saprissa to score four times to win.  However, an overly cautious approach may be detrimental to the visitors.  I think Jason Kreis’ team should be cautious but aggressive early – sit back a bit but be aggressive on the counter.  Scoring first would be a huge momentum shift, so while it may not be required it may be critical to quiet a hostile crowd.

What’s at stake?  The first trip to a CONCACAF club championship since the LA Galaxy in 2000 and some would say a chance to legitimize MLS in the eyes of the soccer world.  I’d argue that Real Salt Lake shouldn’t care about that at all and focus on one thing – themselves.  This team could win a Double or Treble, they have that much talent and depth.  This team can get a win this round and give the franchise a historic win, and that’s what they should worry about.

So what do you think?  Take the poll and sound off below.

[polldaddy poll=4850192]

19 Responses to Preview: Can RSL Advance to CCL Finals?

  1. Jack2010 says:

    I wish them luck.

  2. Bob Dobalina says:

    Are you sure the away goal rules is back? It wasn’t there two years ago.

    • Robert Hay says:

      Bob –

      Yes, new this year (I believe). You can see the tie-breaking scenarios on the press release:

      • Charles says:

        Thanks, but I read somewhere else there was no away goals rule.
        I hate the away goals rule, so I hope it isn’t in place.
        Just stupid….let’s have a team play defensive at home to try and win on a tie.

        It would be better if they should put a rating on the goals, 1-10 and if it is tied, the more artistic aggregate goals goes through.

        I am not lobbying for this, by the way.

        • Derek says:

          Charles you are stupid. The away goals rule is great. If your score more goals away from home you should advance. That is harder to do.

          • Charles says:

            I am stupid, because you don’t like defensive games ?
            Bizarre logic.

            Dave C, I was making fun of away goals, but I do believe it makes more sense. Maybe we should go into a pro/rel arguement over it ? I am game let me know 😉

        • Dave C says:

          I agree that the away goals rule is ridiculous. It’s completely arbitrary – who’s to say that a goal scored away from home is worth more than a goal at home? For the same reason, I don’t like it when league positions are decided by “goals scored” as opposed to goal differential.

          An aesthetic rating system is even crazier though!

  3. The original Tom says:

    Go Saprissa (or whoever’s playing RSL)!

    • Charles says:

      That is hillarious. A ten on the unintentional comedy scale.

      A MLS hater troll, who :
      1) doesnt have a clue what is going on
      2) can’t read to find out

      that pretty much somes them up.

      • Charles says:

        somes ? sums, should be used with my bad grammer.

      • The original Tom says:

        I’m not an MLS hater, rather I’m a Rapids fan who would rather not see RSL succeed- whoever they are playing. Plus, I want Colorado to be the first MLS team to win CONCACF and to get to the World Club Cup (in these formats- back when DC United did both the Champion’s League and the World Club Cup were in different).

        • Tim says:

          The Club World Cup came to be in 2000, 2 years after DC United won the Champions Cup

        • Charles says:

          sorry, that is a VERY BAD mistake. Please forgive me.

          You have to admit it would be funnier if you were though.

          I looked it up and posted on the other page: The Rapids have only lost 4 games in the last 20 played.
          The Sounders need to open a new training facility on top of Mt Rainier.

        • Sancho says:

          It seems the number of Mexican-Americans in Denver increased ridiculously the past couple of days, han?!

          It would be fun to see a lot of SOMBREROS, Mexican flags, Monterrey or Cruz Azul shirts carried by Rapids fans in the next Rocky Mountains Derby…

  4. Alan says:

    RSL can and will advance.

    • Charles says:

      And SHOULD advance, they are the better team. Best team in my opinion, although Monterrey is very good too.

  5. Alan says:

    RSL did it!

  6. Seybold says:

    Congrats to RSL from Seattle! So glad to see an MLS side in the final.

    • Charles says:

      Monterrey-Salt Lake will be a very good series. The two best teams are there. I look at Saprissa, while very good, Salt Lake is better and there are more than one MLS team as good as them. 2, 3 ?…..4 ?

      Hopefully my Sounders prove me correct this summer/fall.

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