Thursday, September 22, 2011

Real Salt Lake: Contenders for the Cup

Real Salt Lake might be the most dangerous team in the MLS playoffs. If they keep their recent form, situations likely come about that have them as the team to beat.

The impending return of Javier Morales and the continued excellence of leaders like Beckerman, Rimando and Jamison Olave also raise the likelihood that RSL contend for the cup. Consider also that unsung heroes Nat Borchers and Will Johnson remain as stalwart as ever and you have a team that brings consistency to the table every time they play.

Add to that the up and coming Luis Gil and you find a dynamic off the bench player who proves dangerous to opponents.

RSL struggled in the various spats of the season and one might be able to say that the pressures of losing the CCL, winning streaks at home and the loss of Morales lead to this, they now seemed to have solved the problem.

After winning in Seattle at CenturyLink field, it became clear that Salt Lake was vying for MLS Cup in a way we haven't seen since last season. Proving they could win against fellow contender Seattle and following it up with wins over Sporting KC and New York, RSL is making a statement.

Further more, other genuine contenders such as LA, Colorado, Seattle and FC Dallas are all involved in other tournaments. That means more games. The Sounders also have the Open Cup final to worry about as well. For astute observers, each of these teams is struggling to find wins in CCL play (shocking after the fantastic start). Already a dip in form is showing for teams in the CCL. Depth is being tested for the likes of Seattle, Dallas and LA. This supports RSL's efforts even more so.

It's looking more and more likely.
In the home stretch of the season, these extra games will prove taxing on players for all teams involved. Real Salt Lake does not have to worry about stretching their players across multiple battlefields. Jason Kreis has only to focus on the MLS season and playoffs.

Count that as an advantage and unexpected bonus for the early season frustrations. If Real Salt Lake can continue their trend of consistent play, they'll peak at just the right moment for a run in the playoffs. Salt Lake in LA for MLS Cup come November? Looks more likely every week.

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