Real Salt Lake's 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League campaign kicks off at 8 p.m. today, and there isn't a thing more exciting about the team right now than that.
As we prepare for one of the biggest games of the year so far (as fans and supporters and whatnot), we're left with this unnerving sense that we don't know anything much about our opponent.
We know that Elias Vasquez, who will certainly be starting at center back, has a long history against Municipal, having been a standout for rival side Comunicaciones, and that they have Carlos Ruiz, former MLS journeyman, back in their side.
And we do know that Municipal supporters are anything but confident, with their team having undergone some real changes, and with Real Salt Lake being a relatively big name (thank you, 2010-2011 run) in CONCACAF.
And other than that, we just know the lock, stock and barrel stuff.
Don't expect great refereeing. Don't expect good refereeing, even.
We've seen so often that CONCACAF Champions League refereeing gets a little batty, causing matches to become even battier (although maybe it's the other way around?). Weird things will be called for weird reasons. MLS referees will look like sane, rational experts in their field.
So whatever you do, don't stress over that point too much. You'll be fighting a losing battle against yourself.
The match will be hard to watch.
We covered this in our "How to watch" post, and you really should check it out if you're planning on trying to watch.
But you'll probably also see plenty of simulation of both contact and injury, too — and as amusing as it can be sometimes, it's also frustrating when it's a timewasting measure.
Watch out for a focused, defensive team.
Last time Real Salt Lake was in CONCACAF Champions League, they were tasked with Herediano and Tauro FC, and both sides played conservative, defensive games that made life very difficult for us. As a result, we didn't make it out of the group, and our campaign was over almost as soon as it began.
Not managing to win one or both away games could sound the death knells for Real Salt Lake in a three-team group. That doesn't mean a draw or even a loss tonight would be the worst thing that could happen, but it would be far from preferable.
Enjoy every minute.
CONCACAF Champions League isn't something Real Salt Lake is guaranteed, even if this squad seems particularly well-suited to it. Champions League, for all the stress and hassle it might cause, is exciting, evocative, and exactly in the spirit of an international game. Whatever happens, savor every minute.