Since that magical 2009 MLS Cup victory in Seattle, titles have eluded Real Salt Lake like disease-ridden mosquitoes out in the West Desert have avoided old friends from high school who work in the abatement industry. RSL may have struck first blood winning that first MLS title but it has not been pleasant since.
The last time Real Salt Lake had a chance to win a title was also at home, in the CONCACAF Champions League final against Monterrey (Mexico). Everyone knows how that game turned out because RSL were not the victors.
This time, in front of what is likely to be a sold-out, raucous and hungry crowd of mosquito-weary RSL fans the club can finally put to rest the argument that 2009 is as good as it's gonna get -- and win a major title Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium vs D.C. United (7 p.m., no TV)
The U.S. Open Cup represents the clearest path back to CONCACAF Champions League for RSL. It's one win and they're in, so to speak, without any of the hurdles such as the one that Real Salt Lake is facing right now concerning the Supporters Shield race (Shield is given to team with top overall record in Major League Soccer), or getting through a tough playoff grind to win the 2013 MLS Cup (also a route to the CCL)
Here are five ways RSL can win the U.S. Open Cup tomorrow night and avoid other more treacherous routes: