Maturity Leads RSL To CCL Final

Maturity Leads RSL To CCL Final

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 6, 2011
  • 2010/11 CCL

Real Salt Lake climbed part of the CCL mountain by moving on to the finals. (Photo via Real Salt Lake)

For most clubs, even the great ones, there is always a moment of panic late in a match in a two legged series when one team is packing on the pressure to get a series-tying goal. Last night against Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, Real Salt Lake saw that moment and brushed it aside like no other MLS team has done before.

Sure, we’ve seen MLS clubs have some marginal success like the old D.C. and LA clubs from back in the day but this CCL tournament is a whole new monster that has been tougher for MLS clubs to handle. Last night’s series win to advance to the CCL final showed RSL is more mature than any other club from MLS before them in this tournament.

That maturity guided them through a flurry of nervous moments late after Saprissa knocked in a second goal from the penalty spot. I, like probably many RSL and MLS fans thought back to the night RSL lost 5-4 in Mexico to Cruz Azul in the group phase of this tournament. But this time around luck was on RSL’s side and Jason Kreis’ side was able to refuse to panic late when things mattered most.

Yes RSL won 2-0 at home and put the pressure on Saprissa in this series for when it returned to Costa Rica but for me the biggest moment was seeing how the club handled pressure after Saprissa’s first goal last night. That was a true sign of growth for a MLS side and for MLS in general. RSL has built a nice blueprint of how to succeed in MLS and abroad.

So big kudos out to Real Salt Lake this morning. I know as a MLS fan I am very happy to see them move on. Now we’re on to Mexico for the first leg of the finals, after that it will be in Sandy for the final game and hopefully a championship for RSL!

Missed the game? We have some highlights for you here: