I love it each year when kids make their list's for Santa and sports fans make their lists for their owners, GM's, coaches, and front office staff. Being a fan I suppose I should make my list out too, last year I made my list after Christmas and just before new years and here is what was on it:
- 5 fewer goals allowed (2008=39, 2009=35) off by 1
- 6 more goals scored (2008=40, 2009=43) off by 3
- 2 more draws (2008=10, 2009=7) 5 the other way
- 2 more regular season wins (2008=10, 2009=11) off by 1
- 2 more playoff wins (2008=1, 2009=4) plus by 1
I explained that last wish this way "Now this is a big goal, and some will read this as an expectation of winning the MLS Cup in 2009, but remember that RSL got a draw in the 2ndmatch of the first round in 2008. I would love us to win the MLS Cup, but I don’t know if that is a realistic goal for 2009, I do think getting to that match is a realistic goal. The league will change in 2009, a new team with an almost unlimited bank roll will join the league (no other expansion team has entered with a DP, or bankroll like Seattle), rosters will be smaller (down to 24 from 28 players). RSL will also face some huge changes, playing all their home matches on grass, hosting the league’s premier match (the 2009 All Star match), and huge fan expectations based on the 2008 run.
This may be asking a bit much but given the way RSL played during the final 10 regular season matches and in their 3 playoff matches, we all have seen what Real Salt Lake is capable of on the pitch, and now there can be no looking back.
So those are the resolutions I would like to see RSL make, I know those are my goals for the team, a bit high but I honestly believe they are all things that are within reach of a team full of talent that given the chance can once again make history in 2009 like they did in 2008."
So while they missed all the wishes/goals but one, it was a huge one that they surpassed. So what do I want in 2010?
Well that is tough to say, so let's start with a list for MLS first:
- CBA finished (to include the following)
- Rosters back to 28 players (with or without a reserve division)
- League min salary for all players of 40,000 per year
- The league should also
- Have a plan in place to shift power from the league to the teams within 5 years
- No more exceptions for "MFT's" (most favored teams)- if LA wants to keep both Landon and Beck's they need to find a way to get two DP spots
- Fast track the plan to get rid of the crappy company running the MLS and team sites
Now a little list for RSL
First up the Front Office/Organization
- A big friendly - with so many matches in 2010 it would be easy to not go out and get a big match with a big European team, but fans deserve it. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, Inter or AC. Are all quality teams that could pack LES in Provo and allow the team to make some money and reward fans. We will see enough of Mexican and Central American teams during Champions League, bring on the big boys of Europe
- Continue Improvements - things each year have gotten better as far as overall operations but in 2009 we saw the huge issue with season ticket emails not working. This impacted things like the USMNT and other events and resolving it is more important than what your email partner is offering you in reporting. I like the potential of the relationships between season ticket holders and your fan relation staff, but it isn't close to good enough yet.
- Enable to the team to compete in all competitions, with the added pressure of both Champions League and US Open Cup we will have to find a way to get our young players some serious playing time to cover a busy schedule and injuries. Our main focus has to be MLS and defending out Cup next year but quality showings in both other tournaments will help build RSL's reputation at home and abroad.
For the Team:
- 3 fewer goal allowed, from 35 to 32
- Same amount of goals scored from 43 to 43 (only one team scored more than RSL in 2008)
- 2 more regular season wins from 11 to 13, 13 was the top number of wins for any MLS team
- 4 fewer losses from 12 to 8, which means 2 more wins and
- 2 more draws from 7 to 9
That would mean my list is for RSL to end with a 13-8-9 record in 2010 that would be 47 points, I would love for us to try for more but without knowing roster sizes and with Champions League and US Open Cup there will be a lot of distractions in 2010 and a lot of teams gunning for us. I think a perfect home record with 10-0-5 will reduce the pressure of wining on the road but would require us to have a 3-8-4 road record, not as good as I would like but if we can remain perfect at home it would be were we could really improve our overall performance.
- Defend the Cup, so not only make the playoffs but get back to the MLS Cup match and repeat our championship.
- Make it too the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League
- Make it past all non-MLS opponents in the US Open Cup
I think those are realistic goals for both the organization and the team, let me know what you think about the list.
I will work on a list for individual players as the week progresses and hopefully have it up tomorrow evening.
OFF MY SOAPBOX