2009 Recap: Real Salt Lake once again made a late playoff surge to steal another team’s spot in the Big Dance. They also reached the Conference Finals once again (though this time they were oddly in the East). After they reached their first MLS Cup Final, Kyle Beckerman and crew hoisted their first hardware after beating LA Galaxy in a memorable shootout. Now, these guys are heroes to all “real” Salt Lake fans. I am not talking about bandwagon jumpers. Hell, nooooooooooo.
I am talking about the folks who have supported the team since 2005 (and some even before then). For three years, the team was an absolute joke. Then, Kreis was brought in last year to lead them team, and he immediately made some very smart decisions related to personnel. Once he had his team in place, he got them to the semis last year, and this year he took them all the way. He – more than anyone else – deserves credit for their success. He’s on his way to becoming a legendary MLS player and manager.
Top Players: RSL is a well-rounded team, and it seems Kreis purposefully does not want to create stars. Robbie Findley was their most mercurial striker (12 goals), but even he started many games on the bench because Kreis likes to spread the wealth. If he was a full time player, Findley may have put 20 in the net in ’09. I love Clint Mathis too, so I will mention his resurgence here. Javier Morales looked good as well, and I am a huge fan of Yura Movsisyan.
Symbolic Stats: Salt Lake is very, very good @ Rio Tinto. In fact, they were the best home team in MLS with a 9-1-5 record. But, they were still terrible on the road (2-11-2; 2nd worst in MLS). If only they could force everyone to play them in Utah. The most symbolic stat though is that they scored 18 goals in the final 15 minutes of games in ’09 (most in MLS), and only 3 goals in the first 15 minutes (least in MLS). So, what I am saying is that they start slow, but they finish strong on both the micro and the macro level. It’s hard to beat a beast that grows stronger while you fight it.
That’s why RSL is the 2009 MLS Cup Champion.
They never gave in. They never gave up. They always fought.
In the 2009 MLS Season, the “Good Guys” finally finished first.
2009 MLS Season Review: