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SANDY — Real Salt Lake returned home Monday evening after being crowned the Major League Soccer Western Conference champion in Portland Sunday night.
The club received a warm welcome back to Utah at the Salt Lake City Airport by a plethora of RSL fans, making the win just that much more special for RSL.
“It’s truly a special thing,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis said of the reception received at the airport. “You look after last night when we were getting the trophy, and there’s all these fans there singing to us and yelling at us — it’s unbelievable. And then to walk in the airport here and have as many as we did today is special, no doubt about it, this is a special place.”
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman couldn’t agree more with how the club was received upon return Monday night.
“The love they show us is amazing and that’s why we like to play here, that’s why we’ve been here for a long time and we want to stay here and keep winning things here for them,” Beckerman told the media.
Following the win in Portland, the Salt Lake club had a chance to celebrate its West victory, but after returning home, a portion of the roster was back to work at training Tuesday morning preparing for the MLS Cup final.
“We celebrated a little bit, but we’ve already started talking about the next game and the team we’re playing and that we’ve got another chance to go get a ring and another trophy, so we’re really excited,” said Beckerman.
The Salt Lake club has another lengthy break before it will travel to Kansas City to face the Eastern Conference victors, Sporting Kansas City. But it isn’t worried about the lengthy break because it went through a similar break in between the first and second legs of the Western Conference final with Portland.
“We’ll get a little rest in, be able to really focus on just them and knowing it’s a one-game and we had a little practice of waiting that two weeks and being ready for the game,” said Beckerman. “I think all in all it will be fine. I know we’d like to play (quicker), but it’s just the way it is, so we'll use the time as best we can to prepare for the game.”
Following a handful of training sessions this week, the roster will get a break for the Thanksgiving holiday and then be right back at work first thing next week before RSL travels to Kansas City to face Sporting Kansas City on Dec. 7 for the MLS Cup. Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.