A loss that feels like a win

I was gonna talk about the San Francisco Giants fan who was hospitalized at Dodger Stadium last week, and What We Can Learn From It. Thank heaven, Salt Lake gave us something more fun to talk about.

Now I can admit it. I thought the Royals were going to get jobbed like an American boxer at the Olympics. I thought it would be robbery in front of twenty thousand witnesses - nay, accessories. In short, I didn't believe Salt Lake could do it.

And come on, didn't you think there was going to be another questionable penalty kick, or two, in the closing minutes? It didn't cross your mind at all? I sure thought so.

But Salt Lake survived and advanced. Congratulations. (And condolences to Rapids fans, but if this HAD to happen, aren't you happy it's happening while you're defending champs?)

Looking ahead - well, usually, when you're playing a team in continental competition, you kind of want to see if they're tearing it up in their domestic league. Right now, Salt Lake is in better form than either of their potential rivals. I'm sure we'll be watching tonight's game pretty carefully, to see how Salt Lake might match up.

Yes, I realize Salt Lake beat Cruz Azul before, but that was with a big cup of nothing on the line. This is going to be slightly different. I think RSL is an underdog against either team - even the one with the player from the 2005 Chivas USA squad. And neither team is going to be scared of the altitude in Utah.

But like I said, I didn't think they'd get out of Costa Rica unscrewed, either.

Will this result get respect for MLS? Probably not from the mainstream sports media. They're pretty much going to have to go to the World Club Cup, and beat someone famous over there. And then weather the "We weren't really trying" nonsense that Manchester United gave Necaxa way back when.

But this is the first time in a long time where it's looked possible that an MLS team could actually do it.

It's a shame that Salt Lake couldn't get the victory outright, because I was looking forward to the trivia question about the MLS team who won in San Jose twice in three weeks.