Tonight, Real Salt Lake carries the flag for all American soccer in, like, the most important-est game evers: The first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League. Salt Lake travels to Monterrey tonight (9 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel). The second leg is next week in Salt Lake.
An American team has never won a tournament of this stature that featured a game on foreign soil. (D.C. United won the CONCACAF Champions Cup by beating Toluca at RFK Stadium in 1998; Los Angeles beat Honduran side Club Deportivo Olimpia at the Rose Bowl in 2001.)
Major League Soccer is doing a nice job of promoting this: There's a snazzy Twitter hashtag (#MLS4RLS) and a video of MLS players/coaches wishing Salt Lake well.
If you're the kind of person that likes to read importance into arrangement and boil a national story down to a local focus, here you go: Kansas City's Teal Bunbury gives his well wishesafter only
Thierry Henry, David Beckham and Charlie Davies.
Obviously, Bunbury is now the fourth-most important player in MLS. (See, I've somehow made that about Kansas City.)
A couple of stories about the RSL match to get you ready.
With victory, Salt Lake to carry MLS to World Cup stage
With chance to compete for world title, RSL exudes quiet confidence.
RSL coach Jason Kreis says RSL are playing for victory in Mexico.
Goal.com has the head-to-head preview.
Now for non-RSL news...
A bunch of really quality games on TV today besides the RSL-Monterrey match. Arsenal-Tottenham (1:30 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN3.com), Chelsea-Birmingham City (1:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel) and the Copa del Rey final between Real Madrid-Barcelona (2:30 p.m. GolTV).
Arsenal can keep their title hopes alive today afterManchester United picked up only a point against Newcastle United.
Benny Feilhaber is (for now) a member of the New England Revolution.
Rumors are strong that the Houston Dynamo really, really, like super-bad want Benny. So, stay tuned.
Chivas, who passed on Feilhaber, have sights set on summer transfer window.
Kansas City's CJ Sapongis one of the many rookies making their name early in MLS this year.
Sporting Kansas City's most famous reserve player, Chad Ochocinco, keeps working on his soccer-lover resumeby documenting his trip to the Bernabeu for the El Clasico last weekend.
C'mon Chad, you couldn't rock at least a Sporting knit cap once? Not once? KC should revoke your honorary status for that snub!!! (Multiple exclamation points denote sarcasm.)
Bruce Arena doesn't believe MLS has a true rivalry on par with the Clasico or the Milan derby quite yet.
He says if it happens, it will happen in the Northwest.
I'm gonna run out of transfers inour fantasy soccer league , my ace in the hole on defense Leonardo is done for the season.
And, to all who have complained, I have no idea why ESPN is flaky on the scoring. I wish I had control over adjusting scoring (because then I'd win for sures!!!), but if there's a problem, email me and I'll forward it along to the powers-that-be.
David Beckham, our unlikely poster-child for poor officiating.
This is serious:Parcel bombs sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two high-level supporters.
Headed out to training today. I'll be posting updates onTwitter and hope to have a report later this afternoon.