Apr 13, 2012, 4:26 PM EST
Real Salt Lake’s trip into Kansas to meet Sporting KC – it’s the MLS talker of the weekend – won’t be easy.
But it’s not far-fetched that Jason Kreis’ team could steal a point or even walk out of Livestrong Sporting Park with all three. RSL is a hardy road side – even if this was hardly the case just three years ago.
Under Kreis, the men of Rio Tinto have become quite adept at managing life beyond Utah borders. They’ve already won at Los Angeles and Portland this year. Yes, both those teams have more issues than Time Magazine at the moment, but that shouldn’t discount the significance of achievement of a visitor into the Home Depot Center or Jeld-Wen Field.
Real Salt Lake is 11-12-11 on the road since 2009. The team’s record at Rio Tinto is quite healthy, and for a time it was historically strong. But you can make a case that it’s RSL’s road form that elevates the team from “good” to “legit league contender” status.
And that traces back to a certain night in Columbus in November of 2009.
First, examine the difference in the three seasons before that fall trip into Ohio, a real game-changer for the franchise.
- 2007 … 2-8-5
- 2008 … 2-9-4
- 2009 … 2-11-2
- Total … 6-28-11
And then after that noted playoff victory at Crew Stadium:
- 2010 … 4-4-7
- 2011 … 5-8-4
- 2012 … 2-0-0
- Total … 11-12-11
That is one Big Kahuna of a difference.
So what happened in that 2009 playoff series? RSL had a 1-0 lead after the opening leg in Utah, a match remembered for Robert Warzycha’s decision to keep Guillermo Barros Schelotto on Columbus’ bench. Still, things looked good for the defending champs, who took a 2-0 lead in the return leg in Ohio. At the time, RSL had never rallied from behind on the road. But then …
Robbie Findley, Javier Morales and Andy Williams struck for RSL, they cruised through on aggregate, won subsequently in the conference final at Chicago’s Toyota Park and went on to claim MLS Cup 2009.
Since then, RSL on the road has been a completely different side. Kreis has shaken the temptations of his younger coaching days to do things differently on the road, refusing to cede to the appeal of playing more defensively away from Rio Tinto.
We’ll see how it works for everyone tomorrow at Livestrong Sporting Park.
- WATCH: Premier League TV Schedule – Week 16 1
- Manchester United’s Robin van Persie faces lengthy spell out 0
- Behind the Brazuca: NBC’s extensive research hints less “knuckle-ball” in Brazil, NASA agrees 3
- What could Chad Marshall bring to the Seattle Sounder defense? We’ll find out in 2014 3
- NWSL: Houston becomes second MLS franchise to place team in women’s professional league 3
- MLS Re-Entry Draft: As predicted, Portland find a way to get Steve Zakuani 5
- 2014 World Cup Draw: Recapping the event (43)
- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues (34)
- Now that we know the U.S. opponents, which 23 players should Jurgen Klinsmann bring to Brazil? (21)
- U.S. national team discussion: The Alejandro Bedoya conundrum (16)
- Sporting Kansas City crowned 2013 MLS champions after 10 rounds of penalty kicks (16)
- Giovani: "We Were Over Criticized"
- Watch Out Netherlands! Chile-Clan Ain't Nothin' to Mess With!
- Messi on Safe Track to Full Recovery
- The Argentinian Armada, Favorites for Brazil 2014
- Brazil 2014: A Look At South America
- Arena de Amazonia: Host of USA vs CR7
- USA Will Advance in Brazil
- You Can't Beat German Sachlichkeit
- Aurelien Collin: I Think France is Very Very Happy
- Group B: No Walk In The Park