Kam's Corner: A Good Start
Real Salt Lake fans have been treated to a multitude of
things with their team since kicking off in 2005. They have experienced the
extreme low of their team being one of the worst in the league and, in short
order, watched their guys being crowned the best in the league last year by
winning MLS Cup. There are teams in the
League that still have not tasted the success that Real enjoyed last year, many
of which have been in the league since its inception. Pretty incredible stuff
for the club’s first five years … and, to top it all off, they play in their
own stadium (Rio Tinto is a beauty).
With the start of the season upon us, there was one thing in
particular that jumped out at me that RSL fans have not experienced as of yet. A FAST START!
They have never experienced their team not having to play catch up for the
entire season. In my opinion, if the
club were going to pick a time to get out of the blocks quickly, this would be
Some have written that Real Salt Lake just got hot at the
right time last fall, that the MLS Cup run was a flash in the pan – and only
time will tell (I’m not really sure about that, but everyone is entitled to
their opinion). What I do know is that RSL
can make a statement and silence any critics by getting out to that fast start
… not that the team or the coaching staff cares about the critics with those
rings arriving April 10!
Every game is going to be a battle this year. Teams are not just playing Real Salt Lake,
but they are playing Real Salt Lake - the defending MLS Cup champion. In any sport, don’t you want to beat the best
a little bit more?
There will not be an “off night,” and the pressure starts
this weekend with San Jose – a team that was so close to making the playoffs in
their inaugural year (2008) and looked more like an expansion team in
2009. What a great start and confidence
builder it would be for them to beat the defending champs in the first game of
the season. But on the other hand, what
a great statement RSL could make, almost saying, “Come and get us boys! We’re
Here’s the other reason a fast start will be key – they are
going to be downright busy. Yes, they have the MLS regular season to worry
about, which really is the most important thing, but there is this other
competition they’ve qualified for called the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Group games in the tournament will start in
August, and getting off to a fast start in league play might allow Jason Kreis
to rest or manage minutes for certain players at different times of the season.
While the regular season takes precedence, there is no denying that a good
showing in the Champions Cup would elevate the status of the club. And oh yeah,
almost forgot to mention yet another competition, the U.S. Open Cup, a journey
RSL starts against no other than San Jose next month.
If you think about any sport, fast starts are accomplished
by good teams, while great teams get off to a fast start and keep that momentum
rolling throughout the season. If Real
Salt Lake is able to do that, wins will come and the club can accomplish one
other thing that just came to my mind that fans have never seen in Salt Lake –
a winning regular season record.