As we know going into Wednesday's match against Tigres, Real Salt Lake is assuming a very distinct underdog position.
But being an underdog is something that Real Salt Lake's core can strongly relate to. They were an underdog in the famous 2010-11 CCL run, and that took the team all the way to the final. They were an underdog in the 2009 MLS Cup, but they won that.
With all that in mind, if Real Salt Lake is to be an underdog and successful, players will need to step up. We've picked three players who, if they stepped up, could make the difference in the match.
Let's be clear about this one from the outset: Movsisyan didn't have the most stellar of preseasons. He didn't exactly score a boatload of goals, and he struggled at times to really gel with the team.
That makes it even more important that Movsisyan steps up. While we're all busy talking about Tigres' Andre-Pierre Gignac, we have on our side a potent goalscorer.
That's not to pretend that Movsisyan and Gignac are contemporaries at this point — they might be, and that would be awfully exciting, but it's simply not the case right now.
If Movsisyan can go three or more consecutive games with goals in the first half of the season, we can start to have that conversation — but that's something that necessarily has to happen after this match opening the season.
Remember 2014 Joao Plata, the goalscoring forward who put up 13 goals in 26 matches? That scoring rate was unusually good, and it's still on the Ecuadorian to show it wasn't a blip. While he won't score at the same clip if he's on the flank (unless he does, in which case, I'll quite gladly eat my hat), he does still have that raw goalscoring magic tucked away in his boots.
The big question: Is he ready to get out and make a difference? Has he put the disappointment of 2015 past him? And can he start to look again like the player that earned a $1 million-plus investment on the back of a tremendous season?
Tigres are likely to focus on someone like Javier Morales, but if Plata can assume some of the creative responsibility, a multi-pronged attacking approach becomes more feasible. While he wouldn't change the game on his own like this, the tactical flexibility he would provide could make things much more difficult for an attack-heavy Tigres team.
In the past year, Jamison Olave hasn't really looked like his old self. That's just as well, because he's genuinely not his old self — and he can be better for it. He's another player who's struggled, but if he gets his head screwed on straight, defends thoughtfully, and brings complete concentration to the match, he could be a player to make a difference.
If this seems like a big 'if', that's because it's something we haven't seen enough of from Olave since he returned to Salt Lake City. There's no better time to turn that around, and there are few better ways to shut out a dangerous player.