Yeah, we're pretty great. Not RSL Soapbox (I have my reservations), but Real Salt Lake. We've made the playoffs now for our seventh consecutive year, and that's, well, awesome.
In 2008, we made the playoffs for our first time. We managed to squeak in past Colorado Rapids in a match that stands as one of the most exciting we've been involved in (and it's exclusively there if you take just the last few minutes in isolation.) Hey, I've got an idea: Let's watch the highlights!
In our first playoff match — Nov. 1, 2008 against Chivas USA, in which we won 1-0 — we didn't look much different than we do now.
Let's go over our lineup from that day.
Nick Rimando — still with the club and still the greatest goalkeeper in MLS. Ian Joy — Commentating on BeIn sport. Jamison Olave — stuck around through 2012. Nat Borchers — "fear the beard" is a thing now, so his status is fairly obvious. Chris Wingert — Yeah, he's still here. Kyle Beckerman — Obviously. Will Johnson — stuck around through 2012, and I still kind of miss him a little. Andy Williams — still with the club as a coach and scout. Javier Morales — the king's reign continues. Yura Movsisyan — tearing it up in Russia. Clint Mathis — long since retired. The bench also featured Tony Beltran and Robbie Findley.
Of those players in that side, Rimando, Beltran, Borchers, Wingert, Beckerman, Morales and Findley remain playing with the club. Seven years after our first playoff entrance, the lifeblood of our team is still very much Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales. They're still the ones that make the midfield workable, and the ones that make the locker room a cohesive unit.
In 2009, we added Ned Grabavoy. In 2010, Chris Schuler and Alvaro Saborio. And with that, we have ourselves a pretty solid starting lineup (less one) heading into these 2014 playoffs that start in a few scant weeks, complete with players with at least five years of experience at Real Salt Lake.
Now that we've finally made it, let's just bask in our consistency. Our preferable starting XI in the first round includes only two players who haven't been with the club for five years — Luke Mulholland and Joao Plata.
Our ongoing success is directly attributable (at least in part) to our ability to remain consistent. That's something worth celebrating.