The pain still lingers and RSL is no doubt out for some revenge this Saturday night, but the team knows the stakes are obviously a little different this time around.
"We're not going to win the MLS Cup on Saturday," said head coach Jeff Cassar. "But we can put ourselves back in a good position to get there this year."
"Different circumstances now, but there are obviously some memories there from the championship game," added midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "But for us, I think we're in a different place as a team."
The good news is the temperature will not be in the teens and the field won't be a frozen ice rink like it was back in December.
"That's great," said defender Nat Borchers. "I guess I'll have to leave my hockey skates at home this time."
"It's great news," added Cassar with a smile. "The field won't be frozen and I'm sure it's going to be a great atmosphere. It's just going to be more motivation for our players."
This has turned into quite the rivalry. After scoring the game-winning goal on Saturday, Sporting Kansas City's Dom Dwyer said of RSL, "I hate them very much."
Well, the feeling appears to be mutual.
"I love that hatred and competitive edge," said Borchers. "It's right back at them. We hate them too."
"I like it," laughed Cassar. "It makes my job a little easier. I mean, you're always looking for something to spur you on and to motivate you. But with this group, they push themselves so much, you don't really have to."
RSL is off to a 2-0-2 start and could easily be 4-0-0, after dominating Toronto FC this past Saturday, 3-0. While the season is still very young, this road test against SKC (2-1-0) will be a good indicator of where the team really stands.
"I thought this was probably our best performance of the year," Cassar said about the win over Toronto. "But I feel we can still get better in a few things. I think we could have actually scored a few more goals. But we've led in every game and there are a ton of positives, but there's a lot of stuff where we need to be sharper and cleaner."
RSL takes on Sporting Kansas City Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The match will be televised on ABC 4.
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