Real Salt Lake plays its second preseason match of 2016 on Tuesday afternoon against Tijuana in Mexico. The Liga MX side will provide RSL a good opportunity to play against Mexican opposition as it readies to face Tigres in the Quarterfinal Round of CONCACAF Champions League in just three weeks on February 24.
“Mentally, it’s big,” RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar said. “It’s not the same team that we had when we down there previously for Champions League, so there’s a lot of guys that need to be put in that environment and I think it’s a great opportunity for us.”
Tijuana is 1-1-2 in the 2016 Clausura season after finishing the Apertura at 5-11-1. The club’s climb from fledgling franchise in 2007 to CONCACAF Champions League semifinalists in 2014 was remarkable and it has become a top team in Liga MX despite a poor showing in the second half of 2015.
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, is in just its second week of preseason training and will play its second match after a 1-0 win over San Diego State University on Saturday. Cassar hopes to use two groups of players in the match as he works to find the best starting lineup for the aggregate-goal series against Tigres. But most importantly, Cassar wants the team focusing on its own duties in the match and not its opponents.
“I really want the group not thinking about Tijuana. Just thinking about us,” he said. “Thinking about what we want to do defensively, where we want to win balls, what’s our intensity like in those areas. And really that’s it. Getting fitness, getting used to the environment down in Mexico a little bit. And coming out of it not getting hurt.”
Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT with live tweeting by following @RealSaltLake and more coverage postgame on RSL.com.