Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RSL Going For History

Real Salt Lake can make history.

With a series win over Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League final, Real Salt Lake would become the first MLS team to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup, and would be the first MLS team to win a CONCACAF title since the tournament went to a home-and-away format in 2002.

It's too bad they have to play in Mexico.

RSL is, hands down, the best team in MLS right now. RSL does not lose at home and also doesn't often lose on the road. This team looks like the favorite to win the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup. It could go down as one of the best MLS teams in history.

But this game in Mexico looms large. Mexico is of course Major League Soccer's house of horrors. MLS teams have never been able to figure out the puzzle that Mexico holds. MLS has an 0-21-3 record in Mexico (non-friendlies), and crazy things happen there. RSL has felt that first-hand, having blown a 3-1 lead by giving up three goals in the final five minutes of the game against Cruz Azul last year.

If RSL does become one of the all-time greats in MLS history, a win in Mexico would go a long way towards making that happen. A series win would help as well, but if RSL can be the first team to win on Mexican soil, RSL would gain major points for tossing that 800-ton gorilla of the league's back.

Can RSL do it? Well, I've never had much faith in any MLS team pulling out any sort of positive result from a game in Mexico, but this RSL team is different. They have such an air of confidence around them and the way they conduct their business, from the front office to the coaching staff to the players, is the way any MLS fan would want their team to carry about.

Couple that with Monterrey's sagging league form and it seems that maybe, just maybe, RSL has a chance of a win.

Don't go betting the deed to your house on that one, though. I've always been a I-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it kind of person, so until it happens I'm not about to make any wagers.

Still, there's something special about this RSL team, and we all may just find out how special they are soon enough.

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