1. RSL must win to have a playoff chance
While we talked about RSL's last match as a 'must-win', this one is truly that. If they don't, the playoff chance dips below 1 percent, and if other results don't go in our favor, it'll be all but mathematically gone. That's almost certainly irrecoverable, even as optimistic as I've been about these things.
As a result, this match should see RSL wholly and absolutely focused on victory. As a result, the match should be exciting, particularly to those who just want to see a good match. But it'll be tense and nerve-racking, and maybe that's not really enjoyable. But that feeling is why we watch, isn't it?
2. RSL is actually really, really good ... sometimes
Before you laugh at the heading and send off comments decrying the inaccuracy and bias of RSL Soapbox, please consider that Real Salt Lake has, at times, looked like the best team in MLS. It's been infrequent, but watching Javier Morales orchestrate brilliant team goals should be a true delight. And if he isn't able to do so, at least we can watch him try — if he plays.
He probably will play, and that's sort of the point of this: He's a joy to behold when he's out there. He's been back in training, so that should give us just enough hope that watching is worth it. We can worry about over-reliance on Morales after the season ends.
3. The Rocky Mountain Cup
Some scoff at the thought that this is important to RSL, while some prickle at the notion that there exists some swathe of the Real Salt Lake populous that is anything but wholly invested in the informal trophy.
Whatever your position, it at least adds something exciting to the match, but anything but a powerful win would see Real Salt Lake drop the trophy. (Not literally. You know what I mean.) After all, an RSL win would see the teams level on points, thus sending it to the first tiebreaker — goal differential.
A 1-0 win would see RSL lose the trophy on that. A 2-0 win would see them retain the Cup because they held it last year. A 3-0 win would give them the trophy on that first tiebreaker. A loss or a draw — well, the implications are a lot greater than just the Rocky Mountain Cup, but that would fall, and that would probably be a little depressing on top of everything else.