Real Salt Lake preparing for historic CCL match in San Jose vs. Deportivo Saprissa


SAN JOSE, Costa Rica– A relaxed Real Salt Lake squad went through the paces at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa on Monday in preparation for its CONCACAF Champions League decider against Deportivo Saprissa on Tuesday night (10pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

RSL comes in healthy and in good form, playing the most attractive soccer in MLS and looking every bit like a club capable of posting a win in the hostile environment at Estadio Saprissa.

Real Salt Lake will enter the match holding a 2-0 lead, meaning the pressure will be on the home team to erase the deficit. Defense will be a priority for RSL, but anybody expecting RSL to bunker down is going to be surprised.

“We’re going to come in and try and win, try and be the better of the two teams in the first 15 minutes,” Beckerman said. “If we can really put on some pressure, maybe even get a goal in the beginning, that’s what we’re going to be looking to do.

“In terms of bunkering in, maybe that’s something we’d do at the end of the game and it’s close,” Beckerman said. “But for the most part we’re going to come out and try to win.”

RSL head coach Jason Kreis made it clear that RSL would not be coming to San Jose to defend for 90 minutes, and the reality is that Deportivo Saprissa has been struggling offensively in recent weeks and could be forced to commit extra numbers into the attack. That could play right into an RSL side with the weapons to punish any Saprissa sloppiness.

The leading story lines heading into the match were how RSL would deal with the intimidating atmosphere of Estadio Saprissa and Alvaro Saborio's return to San Jose to take on the team where he enjoyed the best time of his career.

Saborio burned his former club in the first leg, scoring a vital goal, and he could once again find success against a Saprissa defense that will come in short-handed due to suspensions.

As for the environment at the stadium, Deportivo Saprissa is offering 2-for-1 deals in an attempt to draw a large crowd to the stadium after the club drew a meager crowd for its recent league match.

The field at Estadio Saprissa is also in much better shape than it was two years ago, when the U.S. national team came to San Jose and suffered a 3-1 loss in World Cup qualifying. The artificial turf has been replaced with a better, but still not ideal, surface.

The key to the match will rest in central midfield, where Saprissa will be counting on Walter Centeno to work his magic offensively, while the RSL combination of Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman will look to control the action.

“We’ve got a lot of veterans on our team and a lot of guys that have been in situations and environments like this before,” said RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. “It’s just about us digesting it in the first half and getting through it. If we can get a point or come in at zeros at halftime I think we’re sitting pretty.”

RSL enters the match with all of its key players available, meaning the club will have every chance to make its 2-0 lead stand up and become the first MLS team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.

 Here is a CONCACAF preview of Tuesday night's Champions League semifinal second leg:


What do you see happening on Tuesday night in San Jose? Think Real Salt Lake can hold its lead and win the semifinal series?

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60 Responses to Real Salt Lake preparing for historic CCL match in San Jose vs. Deportivo Saprissa

  1. ben says:

    Thanks for the update, Ives. Very much looking forward to this one. Also very jealous that you made it down there for it! Enjoy!

  2. abc says:

    I hope fans of *every* MLS team and even Eurosnobs who are too good for MLS are rooting hard for RSL tomorrow. For soccer in the US this is the most important non-USteam match, probably ever, or at least since the days of the NY Cosmos.

  3. MLS FAN says:

    Will all MLS fans unite behind this team tomorrow? I will. See you at Nevada Smith’s.

  4. Red Bulls Supporter says:

    Well said! I totally agree. HUGE!!!!!!

  5. JesseMT says:

    I’d love to watch this match somewhere in Seattle. Does anybody know if it will be on somewhere or have plans to watch at a pub?

  6. Chuck says:

    An MLS team that goes abroad with a 2-0 advantage and does not defend with 10 players…..I got to see it to believe it.

  7. john.q says:

    Dear RSL, obliterate them. Wipe them from the face of this earth. Sincerely RBNY fan.

  8. georg says:

    Chuck your going to see it tommorow, RSL will try to dictate the pace early in this match to get the all important away goal. If they cannot get a goal in the first 20 I do expect the team to defend in hopes of getting a counter against a team that will be desperate to make up a deficit.

    This RSL team is good enough to win this match in Saprissa! just ask Cruz Azul, who, should they make the final would probably like nothing more than not to face RSL.

    Great to be a fan of RSL but also great to see a MLS club get this opportunity.

    My greatest fear is this match comes down to poor officiating.

  9. adub says:

    as an FCD fan i would rather see RSL win tommorrow than FCD win this weekend… well not really but i just want to see a US team in the final… its about damn time

  10. georg says:


  11. bsrumorz says:

    like everyone here, I’m rooting for RSL. But based on recent road performances of MLS teams in knockout stages of the competitton, I predict 4-1 Saprissa (92nd minute winner)… hope I’m wrong…

  12. Bull on Parade says:

    An MLS team reaching the final, and hopefully winning it, would be HUGE for American Soccer. People around the world would see an MLS club competing against the other 5 best teams from around the globe. From a true NY Red Bull fan, GO RSL!!!!

  13. Brett says:

    i just moved to Seattle from SLC last week and have been trying figure out the best place to watch the game too. Any Sounders FC fans with ideas?

  14. abc says:

    It’s on Fox Soccer Channel so I’m sure many sports bars will have it on…

  15. Dale says:

    Take advantage RSL, it’s not every year an MLS team avoid Mexican teams in the knockout stages of this tournament. ood Luck RSL. Monterrey looks impossible to beat, 2 mexican league titles in the last 4 seasons is pretty good(not to mention that impressive lineup)

  16. Red Bull says:

    CCL>MLS Cup, so this is huge. HUGE.

    The only downside: the Real in Real Salt Lake. The rest of the world will rightfully mock this lame and wholly unoriginal name. An immediate change to FC Salt Lake or Salt Lake FC would be an improvement and would avoid embarrassing MLS.

  17. duhboy7 says:

    ya having the same name as another team in Europe is way lame. it’s almost as bad as your team being named after an energy drink! oh….wait a sec…

  18. georg says:

    Shut up and win something!!

  19. socnow says:

    From Portland with love, go RSL!

  20. socnow says:

    Should they have named themselves Four Loko Salt Lake instead? Maybe Viagra Salt Lake? RBNY fans are the last people who should be picking on another’s team name. Winning makes people forget about awkward names.

    Support the league tomorrow, not fashion or brand identity.

  21. Matt says:

    I love that the bias has dropped, love the support. RSL and Kreis have noted the recognition from the fans of each team. RSL for life!

  22. bsrumorz says:

    besides, there are plenty of teams with same names across the world:

    Inter-Porto Allegre
    America-Belo Horizonte
    Racing-Avellaneda, as opposed to Santander…

  23. e. pope says:

    If we consider history starting in 2009, then yes.

    What about DC winning the Concacaf Champions League Cup and then the Inter-American Cup in 1998?

  24. Jason B says:

    There’s probably 2-3 teams in the first division of most South American league with names that are borrowed from European teams.

  25. Matt says:

    Big Soccer or someone has a really extensive list of teams that got their name from a European team. There’s an Everton in Paraguay or Uruguay or something.

  26. John D says:

    “playing the most attractive soccer in MLS”

    This made me laugh. Maybe because I was only the smartest kid on the short bus.

  27. John D says:

    always* (see what I’m saying)

  28. Jeff says:

    When we were in Seattle for the MLS cup we went to a bar called Temple Billiards near the stadium. The guys who run that bar are big soccer fans and way chill

  29. Idaho Brian says:

    Can’t wait for the match tomorrow…Go RSL!

  30. nam says:

    Gabriel Badilla, former Rev.

  31. lprevolution says:

    Santiago Wanderers Chile
    Talca Rangers Chile
    Arsenal Argentina
    Catolica Chile
    Catolica Peru

    Oh yeah and United here there everywhere…

  32. solles says:

    ya gotta root for a US club even if its not yours, at least at this stage of the competition when they’re so close to the final.

  33. solles says:

    .. but if you lose then you’re back to just being obnoxious. lol.

  34. solles says:

    then there’s Jomo Cosmos, a South African club named after an American one

  35. Vinnie says:

    I dont care about the Eurosnobs…This one is for USA and Concacaf

  36. Rooper says:

    NO…It may be in the future, but it isn’t yet. MLS Cup is OUR game. And the name is fine.

  37. Neruda says:

    Lovin’ how Kries and Beckerman instill an attacking mindset. With Saprissa missing key defenders RSL will come out relentlessly attacking.

    Let’s go RSL!!

  38. abc says:

    1998? So then why did you say history starting in 2009 and not 1999? Actually the LA Galaxy won it in 2000 also.

    So 1998 and 2000, that still makes this the biggest game in over a decade.

  39. abc says:

    I’m sick of people complaining about the name Real Salt Lake. Get over it already. There are soccer teams around the globe whose names were influenced by big European clubs.

  40. Paul says:

    1 Seattle fan that’s rooting for RSL. Show them how it’s done.

  41. e pope says:

    Interamerican cup was not held in 2000. DC was the last to win.

  42. DaveW says:

    Will also be broadcast on Telefutura.

    Maybe streamed on Concacaf website as well?

  43. Eurosnob says:

    I chuckled over your comments about RBNY fans being the last people to pick on other team’s names. Red Bulls have the worst team name in MLS and arguably the tackiest team logo. I am not sure why naming a team after one of the world’s most accomplished teams is inferior to naming a team after a consumer product.

  44. kevin says:

    Uh, what? How is that obnoxious?

  45. Thorpinski says:

    DC United fan here… I think RSL wins the game. They are far and away the class of MLS I truly believe they win it all.

  46. Vince Clortho says:

    RSL’s counter should be good enough to stick one in, if it comes first Saprissa is going to push that much more and will probably leak another….EXCITED is an understating my anticipation…GO RSL!

  47. Dizzo says:

    Good soccer bars in Seattle include Temple Billiards, Fado’s and Atlantic Crossing. I’m pretty sure you can watch the games there. ECS meets at Fado’s and Gorilla FC meets at Temple before games so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have members there tonight.

  48. TU says:

    If Columbus can go in there and get a win last year then so can RSL.

  49. dino1er says:

    From a Chivas USA Supporter…..Good luck and go MLS.

  50. Brett says:

    MLS needs to become the best league in CONCACAF and this is the first step. LETS GO RSL

  51. Dudeinho says:

    i for one want to see an MLS team not blow a lead if they allow 2 goals in the first 15 minutes then the writing is on the wall.

    And it will be the same ol story of MLS teams Blowing it because they bunkered

    Happened to KC,and LA, hope RSL learned from the Cruz Azul Game not to ever let your guard down even if your up confortably

  52. Charles says:

    I say they are the best in MLS, but….

    Far and away ?

    There are a LOT of good teams in MLS that are right on their heels.

  53. Mike Ufford says:

    While I wish RSL the best of luck, why is this match ‘historic’? DC won it all in ’98 and LA did it in 2000. If RSL can win the final it’ll put them shoulder to shoulder with those two teams, which will be an incredible achievement considering how good those teams were.

    I think the quality of MLS has improved across the board to the point where it’s reasonable to think we’ll regularly see at least one team getting to the semis or beyond if they field their best 11.

  54. Clark says:

    Comparing the old CONCACAF Champions cup to the current Champions League is really no comparison at all… The teams you mentioned won the Champions Cup, played over a 12 day period in the friendly confines of either RFK or the Rose Bowl, no travel required, no contending with playing Mexico or CA and having bags of piss thrown on you and usually playing weakened teams that were just up for the vacation… Do some homework before spouting off with faux equivalency.

  55. slr says:

    The tournament that DC and LA won was more of an invitational than a Champions League, right? I think people are making a big deal out of this one because its the real deal.

  56. USAHammerFan says:

    Everyone keeps point back to DC etc. years ago. Wasn’t that tournament like an 8 team tournament held over 4-5 days in DC’s home stadium? DC never had group stages to play through, never had to travel outside the USA or their own city, never had to play aggregate knock out stages to the final. Totally different animal. Completely different competition really. No comparison can or should even be made I think.

  57. USAHammerFan says:

    In fact here’s the wiki page about that years tournament.
    link to

  58. Brent McD says:

    from a Dynamo fan… Go RSL. get ‘er done!

  59. Bob Dobalina says:

    It would be hilarious though if Real Salt Lake ended up playing Real Madrid in the Club World Cup.

  60. Matt says:

    Because this isn’t played solely in the US.