Before Tuesday night's CONCACAF Champions league game at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, there was talk of whether this was the most important game in club history or even in the history of MLS. Much was said about the short, but impactful history of RSL and which game was the most important. Was the '09 MLS championship game in Seattle the most important? That season and realistically that game were turning points in the club's history. Since that game, RSL has become a force to be reckoned with in every game that it played; both in and out of the league. Since that game, RSL began the process of establishing itself as a regional power by making its way to the CONCACAF Champions league final scheduled for later this month against Monterrey (MEX). I can see the argument that the MLS Championship game was the most important game in club history but what about the CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Final?
The game this past Tuesday at Saprissa was a huge game. For me, a fan, it was the game that I had looked forward to since first hearing about it, and in a way, it was a game I had always hoped for. Seeing my team playing a team of that caliber, in a game that meant so much, was something I had waited for since I first heard Salt Lake would be getting a pro soccer team. A lot was accomplished in that game — a statement was made and RSL was able to get the goal that it needed to advance to the Finals. More than that, it was able to get that goal in a place where many teams have failed to do so. In a way, RSL made an even more important statement in that game. RSL doesn’t give up and doesn’t give in. So was that the most important game in club history? I can see how one could make that argument.
What about the upcoming championship? This game is important on so many levels. As a fan, I want our team to perform incredibly well in the home and home series. Performing well against an established, well-known Mexican team could cement this game in the history of the team as the biggest game ever played.
But then there is the Club World Cup and so on and so on.
I think there’s another way to look at it.
From now on this season, the next game will always be the biggest. This year is about making history.
RSL has been growing stronger and stronger since winning the MLS Cup in 2009. As a fan, that has been awesome to be a part of. But in a way, it has all been building up to this year. This year, each game means so much. Each home game is a potential continuation of the winning streak, each game in the league is a statement to every MLS team that RSL is for real and the remaining games in the Champions League are a warning to the regional teams that not only is RSL a team to be wary of, but also that the MLS is here to stay. Every win is evidence that American teams have figured some things out, and we will compete, we will win, and we will be the power teams in the region. Each and every game this season is a piece of history. Each game leads to the next piece of history. As a fan, I am proud to be a part of it, lucky to watch it, and I can’t wait for more of it.
Jake Simons is a passionate soccer fan, loyal RSL supporter, former high school player and a current club soccer coach. He can be followed @RSLFRONT and @Saltlakejake.