In 10 days, a bunch of things will happen that will shed a great deal of light on how the rest of RSL's season will go both in MLS play and in the Champions League. Here is a look at the next 10 days:
There are two big matches that directly impact RSL's Champions League group, first up is Toronto heading down to Honduras to face off with Motagua in the second leg of their playoff for a spot in Group A. The first leg was held last Tuesday at BMO field in Toronto, it was a tough fought match in which TFC came out with a 1-0 lead.
Second will be the second match between Panama's San Francisco and Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul, which has won this tournament in the past, but not since it entered it current form. The first leg was in Panama but the away side Cruz Azul came out with the 3-2 win and will be looking to claim their spot in Group A.
There is another match that indirectly impacts RSL on Tuesday, the Seattle Sounders will head down to El Salvador for their second leg with Metapan. The first leg was won by Seattle 1-0 at Qwest field last week.
more after the jump:
The biggest upset of the first round of playoff matches for the CCL was the 4-1 thrashing of the LA Galaxy by the Puerto Rico Islanders at the Home Depot Center. It will require some big time magic from the Galaxy if they are to overcome that deficit and make it to the group stages, if they can the MLS could end up with 5 teams (RSL and Columbus are already in, and Seattle and TFC both hold leads in their playoff series) in the group stages of the tournament.
Real Salt Lake currently have 34 points, the same point total as the Columbus Crew who will be in action at PPL Park against the expansion side Philadelphia Union. Both RSL and Columbus are chasing LA for the Supporter's Shield, but with LA out of MLS action until the 14th both sides can close the gap a bit.
Last year Real Salt Lake could only manage two wins on the road, one of those came at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. It was a 1-0 win in which RSL survived being a man down for most of the match, and with backup keeper Chis Seitz in goal. This year RSL already have 3 road wins and a 0 goal differential on the road, a win on Saturday would be huge for the team as they would then have played the same number of matches as the LA Galaxy and be just 3 points behind them in the standings.
FC Dallas have fewer losses than any team in MLS, only twice have they been beaten but they have only won 6 matches. This has landed them in 3rd place in the Western Conference with 27 points, just 7 behind RSL's 34 points. If FCD can start turning their draws into wins it could be very dangeorus for RSL and the other teams in the Western Conference.
All the matches will be played and we will find out what the table looks like after the 7 weekend matches, where will RSL be in the chase for the Western Conference title, and where will they be in the race for the Supporter's Shield?
Real Salt Lake will head to PPL Park and face off against the Union, including former RSL backup keeper Chris Seitz. The teams met at Rio Tinto Stadium back on May 8th, RSL was able to get a 3-0 win as part of their 5-0-0 run in May. A win on Saturday and one on Wednesday would give RSL 40 points after 20 matches, that is their total number of points for 2009 and would pull them into a draw with the LA Galaxy for the lead in the Western Conference.
In the next 10 days we will know what MLS teams make it into the CONCACAF Champions League, we will know what teams RSL will face in Group A of that tournament, and we will know if RSL can close the gap with the LA Galaxy. It is going to be an exciting 10 days for RSL fans.
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