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Domestic soccer treble? Odds say “unlikely,” but Real Salt Lake has the chance at something very special

Sep 30, 2013, 8:40 PM EDT

Rio Tinto Stadium

I have known some members of Real Salt Lake’s management for years, going back to their earliest playing days – and they will absolutely hate me for what I am about to do. Then again, this is what journalists and content providers do … stir the pot, whether it needs a stirring or not. So here goes:

Real Salt Lake has a chance – not a great one, but not a terrible one, either – to pull off something unprecedented in domestic soccer. And something quite special.

With Saturday’s improbable victory in Vancouver, where a squad 100 percent stocked with reservists went into BC Place and left with all three points, Real Salt Lake remains in contention for Supporters Shield. Seattle has games in hand, but the Sounders’ schedule ahead is far tougher than RSL’s remaining schedule. (Of course, teams in the East have something to say about this, too.)

Real Salt Lake has done enough to be considered an MLS Cup threat. And the men of Rio Tinto Stadium (pictured) will be heavily favored for Tuesday’s final in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.

So … a U.S. Soccer professional soccer Treble? That is, U.S. Open Cup winner, Supporters Shield winner and MLS Cup winner from the same address in the same season?

Again, all kinds of things can go wrong here; history speaks to the difficulty of accomplishing such a thing. That is to say, it’s never been done.

Some quality clubs have checked off two of the three over the years. Six teams, in fact, have captured Supporters Shield and MLS Cup in the same season, the 2011 LA Galaxy being the most recent “Double” winners. (The list of Supporters Shield winners is here.)

Three teams have claimed MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in the same year. But none have gone the full distance, so to speak, also capturing Supporters Shield in that same season. (The list of U.S. Open Cup  winners is here; the list of MLS Cup winners is here.)

So this is just a heads-up: Odds say RSL walking with all this is highly unlikely, especially considering how many young hands remain on deck for Kreis’ team. Still, it’s worth noting that such a chance even exists.

The first check on the box has to come tomorrow from Rio Tinto.

  1. talgrath - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Not gonna happen. Even if RSL is perfect throughout the remainder of the season, at best they can wind up with 60 points. The Sounders have 5 games left, based on their current average, they’d hit about 8 points, but their away games are to teams that are mediocre to bad and their home games should be filled near to the brim with fans (I expect at least the game against the Timbers to hit that magical 50k+ number). If nothing else, the Red Bulls also have a pretty soft schedule for the remainder of the season, I’d expect them to beat RSL’s total. I won’t even go into the unpredictability of the playoffs.

    • ashtonstine - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      The game against Portland will be played in PDX

      • talgrath - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        Ah, you’re right, my mistake, I was thinking of the Vancouver game. Point still stands, I think Seattle will probably pick up its first Supporters Shield.

  2. braxtonrob - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    What a nice thought! I’m glad we discussed it while it was possible.
    Now, after RSL wins the US Open Cup, we can all get back to reality.
    No way are they going to win the Supporters Shield; and, as for the MLS Cup … HA! LOL

  3. hildezero - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I have no doubt, that Real is gonna win the USOC, but I don’t think they’ll win a double, especially a treble. I think Seattle will win the Supporter’s Shield and MLS.

  4. rphillish - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    It’s good for the league that we have teams in position to win a “treble”, but RSL doesn’t have much of a realistic chance. Most teams in the running have a game or two in hand on them in Supporter’s Shield race. MLS cup? They’re a dark horse; they’d have to get through LA and/or Seattle just to get to the final. The only thing they’re favored to win is the Open Cup, and even that I don’t think their guaranteed. DC is going to put everything into that match, and I don’t think they can be written off.

  5. nussdorferac - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    RSL loss to SJ was the nail for the Shield. Too bad.

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