[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Real Salt Lake can win the Concacaf Champions League title against Monterrey Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel) with a win or tie. The aggregate is tied, 2-2, and RSL will win on away goals if the second leg ends 0-0 or 1-1. Here is what RSL players and staff members are saying about the game and what it means to both the club and the league.
“What surprised me the most was the way they attacked which made it so hard to defend because they rotate their positions a lot, and we can’t easily hold them back. In both attack and defense, they are a very complex team, but we’ll try to counteract their play on Wednesday and be in a position to win the match.”
-- RSL midfielder Javier Morales, talking about the problems his team will face against Monterrey.
“In the 37-game unbeaten streak at home we’ve played 10 times without Kyle Beckerman. We’re 7-0-3. So 10 out of 10 times when we’ve been in this position, needing the result we need, we’ve succeeded.”
-- General manager Garth Lagerwey discussing the absence from the second leg of Beckerman, the RSL captain who is suspended because of yellow cards.
“I actually do, I have a perfect one. Super Bowl Sunday comes along and you have Green Bay and Pittsburgh and I believe this question was posed to him a couple of days before the game was played, “Do you have any idea who is playing in the Super Bowl?” and he had not a clue. So there’s your example, Super Bowl, biggest game of the year and of course we had training during it, so sometime that’s how it goes.”
-- Defender Nat Borchers offers an anecdote about his obsessively successful head coach Jason Kreis.
“The refs call the game differently than the refs in MLS. They let you play a little more physically here. Sometimes in Concacaf if you’re pressuring a player and they think you come in too hard it’s a foul and maybe a yellow card. You kind of have to adjust on the fly. We have quite a few experienced players and Concacaf-experienced players. That has helped us in the Champions League.”
-- RSL midfielder Andy Williams offers some insight into adjustments required for international club competition.
“When you don’t have the ball against this team, it can be very, very difficult to get it back. And you know that you’re going to be facing probably a dangerous chance at your goal every time you give the ball away cheaply. So it’s just that we’ve got to put more emphasis on controlling the match at the right moments.”
-- Kreis, on the need for RSL to limit Monterrey’s attacking opportunities by keeping possession.
“The fans have been really up for this series, you can’t look in a newspaper or on TV without seeing Real Salt Lake and seeing us on TV or in the papers. It has been fantastic. Our fans are special, they are not like fans in most sports markets. I think they are more loyal, I think because we live in a smaller city and there are only two major sports. I think that they really developed a relationship with Real Salt Lake and we developed one with them and it’s just been fantastic to see that grow.”
-- Borchers on the response of fans and media in Salt Lake City. Tickets to the second leg never went on sale to the public; all were bought by the team’s season-ticket holders.