Commitment, hard work and focus for RSL in final week of season

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SANDY — Returning from a short holiday break, Real Salt Lake hit the training field hard Sunday afternoon to start of its final training week of the season ahead of the MLS Cup with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

The feeling in training from the roster was more than RSL head coach Jason Kreis could have asked for coming back from being off for a handful of days.

"Everybody was really eager to get out here," Kreis told the media following training Sunday. "I felt like the work was fantastic, the commitment level from all the guys was really good and everybody was supremely focused. Often times, when we come back from a several-day break, we have a lackadaisical effort, but not today, they were ready to roll, so I think that will speak good things for this weekend."

It's an effort that has not only been noticed by the Salt Lake club sideline boss, but the roster as well.

"It's a continuation of how it's been the last couple months," RSL defender Tony Beltran told the media Sunday. "Everyone is just very committed, very excited about the opportunity ahead. It's the most together group that I've ever been a part of so it's fun to come into work each day and especially when we're playing for the final (Saturday), it's very exciting."

Although the Salt Lake club doesn't jet off to Kansas City until later in the week, the club is ready to fight for the MLS Cup.

"I'm sure the week's going to drag by and Saturday is going to take forever to get here, but the boys are ready to go," said Beltran.

With just five days to go, RSL is focused on the task at hand, and for the most part, ready to go, but there's one concern still looming in the back of the club's mind.

Frigid temperatures are expected Saturday afternoon in Kansas City.

"It's going to be cold, but I don't think it's going to be anything out of the normal for us," said Kreis.

According to, the 10-day forecast predicts a high of 26 degrees with a low in the upper teens. Kreis says although it may be weather much of the roster has seen before and might be used to this time of year in Utah, it does make playing a bit more difficult.

"I think it can be difficult," Kreis said of the temperatures that are expected in Kansas City Saturday. "I think especially if the surface is frozen — I don't think theirs is, I think they have a good heating system there.

"From the guys' point of view, it means that their extremities get a little bit numb, and one of the most important extremities is your foot. So we'll be concerned with that and have to be mindful about what they are doing at halftime to try to get that situation back and keep their hands warm. I do think it has some effect, but both teams are on the same field, you both deal with it."

Following a training session on Thursday, RSL will travel to Kansas City in preparation for its final match of the 2013 season as it fights to lift another trophy and close out its season as MLS Cup champions. Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.

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