On the eve of their Champions League matchup against the Columbus Crew (8 pm ET, FSC), emotions are starting to bubble to the surface for Real Salt Lake players and coaches.
“I would say that I’ve had emotions the entire preseason about this experience,” head coach Jason Kreis told MLSsoccer.com this past weekend. “I’m really excited for the opportunity to hopefully get in, show well in this tournament and hopefully move forward."
Defender Chris Wingert, who began his professional career at the Crew from 2004-05, prefers having to play a meaningful match while other teams are still in the throes of training.
“I think we’re really excited to get going," Wingert said. "As an athlete, it’s a lot better to be playing an important game than just practicing at this time of the year.”
Midfielder Javier Morales has been feeling calm about the high-pressure tie, but he admitted that'll likely change as kick off approaches.
“Now I feel OK, I think I’m relaxed," he said. "Maybe later ... you feel a little nervous, a little excited."
For newcomer Arturo Alvarez, he has a different dynamic going on. He’s facing the prospect of his first match in an RSL kit.
“Whenever you come to a new team you’re looking forward to that first game," Alvarez said. "It’s a really important game and hopefully I can get that out of the way. You get a little bit of butterflies in your stomach."
Join the chat on MLSsoccer.com for the Columbus Crew-Real Salt Lake CONCACAF Champions League match on Tuesday, beginning at 7:45 pm ET!