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Good luck RSL!

In 1991, before a crowd of 41,103 at Memorial Coliseum, the US National Team notched a 2-0 victory over Mexico in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Goals from John Doyle and Peter Vermes saw the US reach the final, where they won North America’s biggest tournament on penalties. Before 1991, the US had suffered through a serious dry spell against our neighbors to the south, including only two victories from the previous twenty-eight matches played. But that one victory was followed by another in 1994 and another in 1995 and slowly the United States began to show both the region and the world, that Mexico’s continental superiority was over.

Tonight at 10pm on FSC, Real Salt Lake has a similar opportunity to end Mexico’s regional club dominance and make the emphatic statement to CONCACAF—like the National Team did two decades ago—that MLS is no longer coming, MLS is here.

Borcher heads home

Following a hard fought 2-2 draw away to Monterrey, the scene shifts to Sandy, Utah with one final match left to decide the title. In the first leg, a Nat Borchers header equalized an 18th minute Aldo de Nigris goal, but a second half penalty by Humberto Suazo threatened to give Monterrey an aggregate lead entering the second leg.

But it was Javier Morales to the rescue for RSL in the 89th minute, tucking inside one defender before firing past a helpless Jonathan Orozco and earning his team an important second away goal.

A return to the Rio Tinto Stadium will have RSL in good spirits and they will be confident in their chances of taking the region’s biggest club prize. Anchored by veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando and former National Team member and MLS All-Star turned coaching guru, Jason Kreis, RSL plays with the strength and unity of a team focused not on a particular superstar, but on the quality of total team play, drawing from their team motto “The team is the star”.

RSL MVP

Influential captain Kyle Beckerman will be forced to sit out, after a controversial yellow card led to a suspension, but one of RSL’s great strengths is their squad depth. While his absence is certainly a disappointment to both the player and his team, they should be able to make the necessary adjustments.

Monterrey will also be below full strength through suspension with first leg goal scorer De Nigris forced to the stands along with creative midfield Jesus Zavala (whose yellow card easily could have been red following his attempted choke-out of Alvario Saborio). Influential midfielder Luis Perez is also unavailable for Monterrey through injury.

So read the articles, learn about this team and their progress through the CONCACAF Champions League, because at present, they are the model for MLS— especially for teams, like the Union, who forgo the Designated Player route, in favor of well organized, team soccer.

Sports Illustrated has declared it “The biggest game in MLS history”. RSL GM Garth Lagerwey calls it American soccer’s “Lake Placid Moment”.

And if this still isn’t enough to get you in RSL’s corner, remember that Robbie Findlay is no longer on the team, making them infinitely more likable.

So, even if you’re not ready to rush out and purchase that claret and cobalt scarf you’ve had your eye on, at least pull your chair up close to the TV and let out a loud, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

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