OK folks there is simply an amazing amount of great CCL coverage out there and I will be doing my best to keep up with all of it and linking it here for you. If you find something that I miss then either add it in the comments section or send me an email (link at bottom of the page).
I think I will start with a couple of the items on mlssoccer.com/concacaf.
First up is a look at what the Champions League means both for RSL and MLS:
The CONCACAF Champions League is the apex of professional soccer in our region, the ultimate goal for any club chasing its broader ambitions. And with MLS enjoying a period of growth and bristling confidence, it's time for one of the league's clubs to make a larger statement. For everyone's sake.
Randy Davis provides us with some great thoughts from RSL head coach Jason Kries
"They're a fantastic team," Kreis said. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I'm expecting a fantastic game on Wednesday."
"It's essential [Wednesday] that we not lose our attitude," midfielder Osvaldo Martínez said. "We can't stop running. We haven't done enough to get the result in the last few games, and this will be a great opportunity to forget all that has happened and get after it to gain an important lead [in this series] ahead of the next game [in Utah]."
more good stuff after the jump:
So remember that local media guy who was complaining about the cold weather at Rio Tinto back in March when RSL hosted the 2nd leg of their quarterfinal. Yeah that even that guy has gotten over it and is back on the RSL bandwagon, check out what he said on Tuesday:
If you're a sports fan in Utah and not paying attention to what Real Salt Lake is doing right now, you're missing out on something somewhere between pretty cool and extraordinary.
The SL Tribune also bring us this from Michael C. Lewis:
In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that Real Salt Lake was simply trying to establish itself as a viable sports franchise in Utah, and ensure its survival in a crowded market with a sport that hardly ranked at the top of the list for most fans.
Yet, here it is, almost on the top of the world.
And not to be outdone by the trib, James Edwards from the Deseret News has given us some good stuff too:
RSL coach Jason Kreis said he'd love to change the course of history for MLS.
"I would absolutely love to be the first MLS team that wins in Mexico," he said.
A win would be a dream scenario tonight for the visitors (8 p.m., Fox Soccer), but it's by no means necessary in the two-leg aggregate series that sends the winner to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December.
So for the first time in their long and storied history the Sporting News has recently started to cover Soccer and they chose the very good Brian Straus to be their guy. He offers up a great piece, a look at what the CCL means:
It must be so convenient for the NBA or NFL or Major League Baseball titlists who get to proclaim themselves "world champions" without ever venturing beyond their own backyards. Soccer teams not only must prove themselves on the field, but entire leagues and nations are often judged by international performance.
There there is the quality sims run by the folks over at mls-rumors.net, where their simulations say RSL may just make some history:
Legendary Dutch coach and 1999 FIFA Coach of the Year Rinus Michels once said: "Professional football is something like war. Whoever behaves too properly, is lost." Often this is shortened to the clichéd exaggeration: "Football is War."
Well if football is war then like war perhaps it is of interest to "wargame it" to simulate possible outcomes. The US Defense Department and it's various services have whole departments dedicated to simulating conflicts using computers.
I am sure I will be updating this post 3-4 times today so stop by often and check out the updates.
Well a ton of good stuff coming out today, first up Randy Davis offers us another great look at the midfield battle which will be a key to the match:
Javier Morales believes he knows the secret to Wednesday's critical match in the Champions League finals: the battle in the midfield.
"I think that's the key," the Real Salt Lake playmaker said Tuesday. "The team that wins the battle in the middle has a very good chance."
Normally a radio guy Bill Riley writes a great piece for Deseret News:
Jason Kreis' squad has already reached unprecedented heights for an American soccer club, as no MLS team has ever reached the CONCACAF finals under the current format. But RSL now sits just one round away from joining the world's elite at the FIFA Club World Cup. Kreis is quick to deflect any credit that is given to him for the club's success, but I can tell you that having been around this club for every match since the beginning, that Kreis deserves a lion's share of the credit.
Grant Wahl offers up a RSL history lesson (always interesting to see how others view us):
In the summer of 2007, a desperate rookie coach dropped everything in the middle of the MLS season and flew to Argentina in search of a future. Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis was just 34, his team was in last place and he needed a major talent upgrade. But could he risk everything by signing a midfielder he'd never seen play in person before?
One night in Buenos Aires, Kreis had dinner with Javier Morales, a 27-year-old playmaker who was looking to move after one season in the Spanish second division. For Kreis, the secret of signing players isn't just in their on-field ability, even though Morales had a good highlight DVD, full of ball skills and technique and tactical smarts.
The final link of this update is a fun look at how some of the SB Nation bloggers feel about #MLS4RSL from Steve Davis:
Clearly, Real Salt Lake fans are happy-skippy about it all. But I wondered how other fans around MLS felt? Is their any sense of solidarity? I guessed that most supporters from MLS valleys beyond fell somewhere between a relatively detached "good luck to ya," and yawning indifference.
that is it for this round of updates look for more this afternoon.
OK, time for a couple more updates:
First the SB Nation match preview:
In order to complete this historic run, RSL will at least have to avoid suffering the same fate as so many other MLS teams when they visit Mexico. In the history of U.S. teams -- both national and club -- going to Mexico, none has ever left with a victory in hand. RSL came as close as anyone during their last trip there, leading Cruz Azul 3-1 in the 75th minute. But a five-goal flurry during the final 15-plus minutes resulted in a 5-4 RSL loss.
Drew from WvHooligan talks about the historic nature of the match:
Winning tonight in Mexico would be a treat for any US fan, yes, even some Rapids fans. It won't be easy though as Monterrey is surely going to bring their best in this leg of the final. They have to know that RSL put up more of a fight than any MLS club before them in the group stages against fellow Mexican club Cruz Azul. Given the way Monterrey has played recently in their league matches, they cannot afford a shootout with RSL at home, especially when away goals matter. Plus as any MLS club will tell you, you don't want to go to Rio Tinto down a couple goals if you don't have to.
Kyle Beckerman said training at Estadio Tecnologico this afternoon had him reminiscing about the early days of Major League Soccer.
"It's like we're in the early MLS days with the football lines," said RSL's captain after his team wrapped up an hour practice in the stadium in 100 degree heat today.
Beckerman said the field was in good shape despite the lines, and he's itching to get the first leg of the Champions League final underway Wednesday.
If you think all the USA hype about the match is a bit much, check this out from north of the border:
"What Real Salt Lake has done has opened a lot of eyes," Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman said of a team that topped TFC's pool earlier in the tournament. "They're a great example, not just for ourselves, but for the rest of league for what they've been doing in representing MLS and making it to the finals with the type of football they've been able to produce. Hopefully, one day, we can reach that point."
You can catch the latest edition of "the Daily" from MLS, featuring a on location Simon Borg. As always come good stuff
OK, I expect there might just be one more update to this post before I head out to watch the match at the Republican tonight. So keep your eyes open.
OFF MY SOAPBOX