So what is #TheQuad?
Well last year we saw a movement start with a simple Twitter hashtag #TrophiesNotFriendlies created by SounderatHeart.com's Dave Clark and it has become such a powerful force for some that it was recently mentioned during a press conference with MLS Comish Don Garber.
Well this year I didn't want to have to piggyback on someone else's good idea and I came up with my own hashtag. #TheQuad as it represents what could be the best year ever for a MLS team.
more after the jump:
#TheQuad is what I came up with and it is what I set as the goal for Real Salt Lake in 2011. Now I am willing to offer a little room for the team to adjust their goals but given our roster and performance in 2010, we should have our goals set on first capturing the CONCACAF Champions League. We would be the first MLS team to do so under the new format and that would qualify RSL to take part in the FIFA World Club Cup in Japan this December.
Of course that prize would be huge for RSL but we are still a MLS team and that means that two parts of #TheQuad are MLS based, that is the Supporters' Shield. Real missed this by 3 points in 2010, but is a reachable goal for the 2011 season, it will require RSL to maintain their stingy defense and incredible home winning streak. That goal accounts for the team performing well all season long, and with 34 matches in the 2011 season it will be the longest season since RSL joined MLS. Then there is the post season, the MLS Cup, a trophy that RSL knows well after claiming it in 2009 and now they will look to pry it from the fingers of the hated Colorado Rapids. The playoff format is still unknown but without the travel and strain of the CCL qualifying round this year, RSL should be able to maintain their focus and fitness all the way to whatever location "the Don" choses for the match.
So that would take care of 3 of the 4 required to complete #TheQuad, so where does trophy number 4 come from? Well it would be nice to take the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title away from the 2 time defending winners, Seattle Sounders FC, but the LHUSOC is an interesting animal as the qualifying to face lower division teams is done by facing MLS teams, who battle for a limited number of openings in the knockout rounds. Real Salt Lake was just one win away from making it into the tournament proper but on a week that saw they sandwich the match between a trip to the White House and a MLS match, they fell in extra time to DC United. This year the depth of RSL with many younger players getting more playing time and improving their skills, I expect that RSL will find a way to make the tournament proper and like any other single elimination tournaments, anything can happen.
Of course RSL isn't limited to the LHUSOC, there is still the possibility that MLS will once again take part in SuperLiga. You know the tournament that I hate with a passion, the one where the teams from MLS and FMF that were not good enough to qualify for Champions League face off for a $1 million dollar prize. You know the one that MLS clears the schedules of the teams taking part in it, forcing them to stack the end of their season with additional matches. You know the one that you can't find broadcast in English anywhere. Yeah if they renew that tournament it is very likely that Real Salt Lake would be in it, and while I hope (and pray) that they don't renew it, if we are in it, then we should try to win it. Since its creation in 2007, only one MLS team has won the tournament, New England in 2008.
Then there is the biggest prize for a club team, the FIFA Club World Cup, the now annual tournament for the winners of the various confederations Champions Leagues. The winners include Barcelona, AC and Inter Milan, Manchester United, Sao Paulo, and a couple of other Brazilian club teams. It has been taken much more seriously over the last few years as the prize money has increased; now the winner walks away with $5 million dollars. Oh what a great day it would be for MLS if RSL could lift that trophy. First things first as there are three trophies that RSL should be able to claim in 2011, but if you are going to dream, then you might as well dream big.
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