It faced a daunting task playing in the "Monster's Cave" in Costa Rica during the semifinals of the tournament, but Real Salt Lake expects to encounter a whole different beast when it takes on Monterrey in Mexico in the first leg of its Champions League finals series on Wednesday night.
No team from Major League Soccer has ever won a meaningful game in Mexico, going a combined 0-19-2.
"We are all searching for the answer," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said on a conference call today. "These teams know how important these tournaments are, and they are used to this type of tournament. I think they feel a big part of pride over losing to an American team. I think we are going to have to keep at it and keep believing that we can get one over on these guys. It’s tough and the atmosphere is great — they really support their home team — it makes it tough, but
we just have to give it a go."
The team tried against Cruz Azul — the team Monterrey defeated in the Champions League semifinals — during the group stage of the tournament last year, but blew a two-goal lead by allowing four goals after the 75th minute to lose 5-4 in a pouring rainstorm.
It's hoping for a much better result, this time.
"It’s tough, as Kyle said," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "We have seen it first hand at Cruz Azul, but I don’t think we are afraid to come in here. We were the underdogs before, and we know what it is like to come into an environment and not expect to win or pull a result out and I think we have the guys who can do that. There is nothing that says we can’t go in in there and get a result. We don’t have to win but getting a result would be good for us."
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