Real Salt Lake has a unique opportunity in Utah history tonight: Never before has a top-tier professional Utah sports team won a championship on home soil.
It's a dubious record, of sorts, because we've won a championship ourselves. That, of course, was in now-quite-enemy territory in Seattle, and it certainly counts for something.
But on our home ground? Not only should that boost our spirits, but also our chances. Real Salt Lake is playing in a cup final. That's notable for plenty of reasons, and I wish the entire state could sit up and take notice, from St. George to Logan to Moab to Vernal.
But the fact is, they won't be able to see it unless they're here. It's a shame, really. The US Open Cup should be a substantial trophy in American soccer, and the excitement is more than palpable. It's a fog, thick as pea soup blanketing the Salt Lake Valley. (Honestly, I'm not really sure how thick pea soup is. It never seemed particularly appetizing. Perhaps I'm wrong.)
We've been this close to a trophy twice before, and once, we made it ours. We've had trouble before -- look at the Champions League exit in 2012, the many US Open Cup exits, the playoff failures. But this far? We've got a huge opportunity in front of us.
2009: We win MLS Cup. A fantastic achievement for all involved and the start of something much bigger for Real Salt Lake. It's the only trophy we've won.
2011: We lose the CONCACAF Champions League final at our home ground. It was simultaneously our biggest moment and our lowest moment.
2013: We have a chance to take another trophy. We come in renewed with experienced players, with young players, and with immense talent. We've taken the side that lost that CONCACAF final and tweaked it ever-so-slightly. We're ready to win a trophy again.