Real Salt Lake want to ensure that they qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League final when they take on Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa on April 6.
The 2009 MLS Cup winners took out the first leg at Rio Tinto Stadium 2-0 about two weeks ago and need to simply hold Saprissa in San Jose to join the rest of the already-qualified teams in the finals.
MLS have put faith in RSL by paying for a chartered flight to Costa Rica to avoid a long layover and head coach Jason Kreis is aware just how important it is for his team to get through this two-legged preliminary tie.
“Based on all the support we’ve received … from the league and fans of the entire league, we think it’s a big deal and we don’t take that responsibility lightly,” Kreis told The Salt Lake Tribune.
And Kreis is also of the knowledge that his side, the only US team to reach the semi-finals of the competition, needs to keep up appearances for both club and the domestic league.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Kreis said. “Over the past couple of years its been interesting when you hear from the number of foreign players who say, ‘I saw your team play on ESPN Deportes,’ or some channel in their country and ‘I really like how you play.’ That has increased tenfold over the past couple of years, so it is important that we represent ourselves and the league really well.”