You have to like the way Real Salt Lake is conducting business this season.
Coach Jason Kreis rested a number of starters for this past weekend’s MLS tilt with Colorado because he wanted to have his first-choice lineup ready to go for the CONCACAF Champions League game against Toronto FC last night.
A win or a tie against Toronto and RSL was through to the CCL quarters.
As Kreis said:
“We don’t want to go into the last match at Cruz Azul needing a result. We’re going to put all of our cards on the table for [the Toronto CCL game]. We feel like the that’s the one that we have to get a result in, and wrap up this Champions League stuff so that we can then turn our attention back to the Supporters’ Shield and the playoffs.”
That second-string lineup mustered a tie against Colorado over the weekend—gaining ground in MLS on the Galaxy, which lost—and last night, the regulars rallied for a 1-1 draw in Toronto to secure a berth in the CCL quarters.
What was it the A-Team guy used to say? “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Real Salt Lake is getting it done in two competitions this season, no mean feat with an MLS budget and roster depth. They also had some severe travel SNAFUs in their odyssey from Utah to Toronto, via Atlanta.
Yet Kreis had them ready to play. If he keeps this up, he’s a shoo-in for Coach of the Year.
Here are the highlights:
The tie eliminated Toronto, which has fired its coach and GM this season and is on very thin ice re. the MLS postseason.
But hey, that goal by former U.S. youth international Jacob Peterson—after a perfect 60-yard outlet toss by goalkeeper Jon Conway—was pretty nice.