As friendly matches go, last night's skirmish between Real Salt Lake and Chivas was more about flaring tempers than anything else. The 1-1 draw on paper reflected little if any of the tension between the two sides, let alone the damage players did to each other.---
Real's midfielding genius Javi Morales was yet again picked out by the opposition for some brutal treatment, leaving him with calf bruising and a sprained ankle. Real officials are optimistic he will recover in time for Real's match next Wednesday at home against the New York Bulls. The Bulls defeated Real at home in the Western conference final last year. If Real loses to the Bulls this time round, then they're out of contention for the playoffs.
Last night demonstrated two key points. One was that Real can start in a punchy mood when their future's on the line, the other that their players have the will to fight, something fans and RSL officials have yearned to see all year.
The future importance of former CW cover story Real Passion's La Barra was also more than apparent in Rio Tinto stadium last night. While Chivas fans outnumbered Real 10 to 1 in presence and voice, La Barra, Real's Hispanic fan club, fought valiantly to make a dent, haivng sold out their section of 225 seats. Hopefully as La Barra continues to draw more supporters from the Hispanic community along with Anglos who like to party with them, when Mexican super teams come avisiting next year, Real's home fans will be more of a match for their volume if not their numbers.
Meanwhile Real fans face another nail biting wait to see what happens against the Bulls. Coach Kreis has one more week to shape his bruisers into a playoffs worthy team.