Since the threads for the two legs of the Final will probably wait until after the weekend league games, I just wanted to say here:
It is a damn honor to be able to play for a regional trophy in your own house, and Real Salt Lake has earned it every step of the way. Congratulations once again, and take a moment to think of everything that happened along the way here:
- The 3-0 hammering of the Rapids on the last day of the 2009 season to sneak into the playoffs
- Back-to-back playoff wins over the Supporter's Shield-winning Columbus Crew
- A penalty shootout in Chicago that could have gone either way, esp. Grabavoy's clincher hitting the goalie's gloves and going in anyways
- RSL refusing to back down in front of the MLS/media darling Galaxy, getting the equalizer and holding their nerve in the shootout to win the MLS Cup
- Putting up with unthinkable levels of bull&%*! from Arabe Unido and still winning both games
- Taking care of business against Toronto, especially with Javi's free kick to guarantee qualification
- Narrowly letting victory escape in the Estadio Azul, only to turn around and let a B+ team take out the Mexicans in Rio Tinto to guarantee 1st place
- Putting on a "preseason" masterclass against Columbus at home to move to uncharted territory for MLS teams in the CCL: the semifinals
- Stealing the limelight from the MLS season opener with a 2-0 manhandling of regional power Saprissa
- Staring down the Monster's Cave, not losing the team structure, and punishing Saprissa with an away-goal to ice the series
Fact is, not a single MLS team has ever faced what you guys went through to make this CCL Final. Take pride in that.
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.