Notes • Though low-scoring draw means a title, team aimsto overwhelm foe.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • All they need is a low-scoring draw to make history.
But coach Jason Kreis and his Real Salt Lake players insist they won't be playing defensively when they meet Monterrey in the decisive second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals at sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night even though a 0-0 or 1-1 draw would deliver the championship trophy.
"If there's one thing we've told our group from the beginning of moving into this stadium, we are always after three points at home," Kreis said after a final training session that featured snow flurries Tuesday. And "that's no different" against Monterrey. "We're after three points."
Defender Nat Borchers agreed.
"We're not going to sit back and defend," he said. "Everybody knows that about us. We come here at home, and it's our house. We're aggressive, and we're going to get after them."
History on their side
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman is out because of caution accumulation for RSL, but that doesn't appear to be the end of the world.
The team is 7-0-3 at home without Beckerman during the past two seasons, and it was 4-1-2 overall without him when he was out with an injury this past season. What's more, the team has played 20 straight home games without allowing more than one goal and has allowed only two goals in four home games this year.
Expecting the best
Midfielder Javier Morales helped deflate Monterrey with his late equalizer in the first leg of the series and knows Los Rayados are riding a seven-game winless streak aren't dazzling anybody in Mexico's Primera Division.
"This is a one-time only opportunity for them, as well as for us, so I believe they will come and give it all to win the final," Morales said, "because this could be the only thing left for them to win this season."
Better in back
Defenders for RSL said they must communicate and pressure Monterrey better than they did in the first leg to prevent players such as dangerous striker Humberto Suazo from hurting them.
"We are going to have to do a better job on getting pressure on the ball in this leg," Borchers said. "I think, too often, we were passive in our pressure" in the past game, "and it made it easy for their midfielders to chip those balls in over the top that beat our pressure and allowed Suazo to get the ball turned on goal in there."
Team officials are expecting a heavily pro-RSL crowd, despite the popularity of Monterrey among the area's Latino population.
In part, that's because they first put tickets on sale to their season-ticket holders, then to those who had previously bought single-game tickets, before offering them to the general public. By then, only a few hundred tickets remained.