"What this?" you ask. Am I really abandoning the Portland Timbers in favor of a western conference rival? Absolutely not. As far as I'm concerned, on any other day, Real Salt Lake is just one more regular season obstacle our team will need to overcome. Today, however, is a little different as Real Salt Lake prepares for it's second leg semi-final game against Costa Rica's Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
For those who are a little confused by just what the CCL is, I encourage you to check out my "Teaching Timbers" post on the international tournament our league participates in.
All caught up? Fantastic!
Back on subject, tonight Real Salt Lake will be playing against the Costa Rican league leaders Saprissa for a chance to represent MLS and the United States in the Concacaf Champions League final against either Cruz Azul or Monterrey (both of which are from Mexico). This is not only huge for Real Salt Lake, but it's huge for our entire league and the reputation of U.S. soccer as a whole.Being an MLS fan can be a little tough, especially for those of you who are really into the UEFA Champions League and other European club/leagues. To put it succinctly, the overall competitiveness of our continental conference is far below that of UEFA. We will, barring some extraordinary changes, never really reach those kinds of competitive levels in the CCL.
However, the winner of the CCL gets to go, in December, to play in the FIFA World Club Cup, an annual event that pits the continental conference champions against each other in a tournament. Inter Milan won the trophy in 2010, this year could feature our own Real Salt Lake, a first for any MLS team ever.
So, for tonight, and any other night that Real Salt Lake is participating in the CCL, I'll be rooting them on as if they were my home team because, in the greater picture of the continent and world, they really are.
Real Salt Lake are playing tonight's game away from home with a 2 - 0 on aggregate advantage (Saprissa needs a 3 - 0 win tonight to go to the CCL finals). The game is on FSC at 7:00PM PT. If you're at all interested in seeing how our league stacks up against the world, I'd recommend checking it out.
Make sure to keep track of fellow SB Nation blog RSL Soapbox to get the inside knowledge on tonight's game and what we can expect from our "local" boys.