Domestic soccer treble? Odds say “unlikely,” but Real Salt Lake has the chance at something very special

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I have known some members of Real Salt Lake’s management for years, going back to their earliest playing days – and they will absolutely hate me for what I am about to do. Then again, this is what journalists and content providers do … stir the pot, whether it needs a stirring or not. So here goes:

Real Salt Lake has a chance – not a great one, but not a terrible one, either – to pull off something unprecedented in domestic soccer. And something quite special.

With Saturday’s improbable victory in Vancouver, where a squad 100 percent stocked with reservists went into BC Place and left with all three points, Real Salt Lake remains in contention for Supporters Shield. Seattle has games in hand, but the Sounders’ schedule ahead is far tougher than RSL’s remaining schedule. (Of course, teams in the East have something to say about this, too.)

Real Salt Lake has done enough to be considered an MLS Cup threat. And the men of Rio Tinto Stadium (pictured) will be heavily favored for Tuesday’s final in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.

So … a U.S. Soccer professional soccer Treble? That is, U.S. Open Cup winner, Supporters Shield winner and MLS Cup winner from the same address in the same season?

Again, all kinds of things can go wrong here; history speaks to the difficulty of accomplishing such a thing. That is to say, it’s never been done.

Some quality clubs have checked off two of the three over the years. Six teams, in fact, have captured Supporters Shield and MLS Cup in the same season, the 2011 LA Galaxy being the most recent “Double” winners. (The list of Supporters Shield winners is here.)

Three teams have claimed MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in the same year. But none have gone the full distance, so to speak, also capturing Supporters Shield in that same season. (The list of U.S. Open Cup  winners is here; the list of MLS Cup winners is here.)

So this is just a heads-up: Odds say RSL walking with all this is highly unlikely, especially considering how many young hands remain on deck for Kreis’ team. Still, it’s worth noting that such a chance even exists.

The first check on the box has to come tomorrow from Rio Tinto.

El Tri star Lozano staying focusing amid Barcelona rumors

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Hirving “Chucky” Lozano was a player everyone needed to pay attention to heading into the 2018 World Cup, and through two matches, the El Tri star has been every bit the price of admission for his country.

[ MORE: Group scenarios heading into the final group stage matches ]

Mexico sits atop Group F with six points at the moment, and much of the team’s success can be attributed to Lozano’s endless motor and creative attacking vision when he finds space down the wing.

The PSV Eindhoven attacker has been linked with various big clubs, including La Liga giants Barcelona, but that hasn’t halted Lozano’s pursuit of guiding Mexico to an unprecedented run at the World Cup.

“The important thing is to focus on the next [Mexico] game, do as well as possible and go step by step,” Lozano said.

Despite winning their first two games, El Tri needs at least a point in its final Group F match to ensure qualification without any complications.

Mexico will take on Sweden on Wednesday, as Juan Carlos Osorio’s side aims to remain perfect in the group stage.

Meanwhile, Andres Guardado — who has been a mainstay of the Mexican national team for years — only confirmed the work ethic of his teammate and hopes that a dream move becomes a reality for Lozano in the near future.

“It makes me very proud to say he is a kid that is very centered, despite everything he is going through,” said Guardado after Saturday’s 2-1 win over South Korea. “He is conscious that he has to continue like he’s not achieved anything.”

“He’s the same kid I met the first time he came with us,” continued Guardado. “Hopefully he stays like that and the rumors about a possible transfer to a big team become reality. It would be marvelous, he’s a great teammate.”

Video: Salah lob has Egypt off and running in first half

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Egypt’s run at the World Cup didn’t go according to plan, but the Pharaohs are looking in control on Monday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Mohamed Salah‘s second goal of the tournament has given the Egyptians a 1-0 lead over Saudi Arabia in their Group A finale.

After a Saudi giveaway in the attacking half of the field, Salah latched onto a beautiful long ball from Abdallah Said, before lofting a shot over goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem.

Video: Suarez gives Uruguay early lead over hosts Russia

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It only took Uruguay 10 minutes to break through, and the South American side could be on its way to capturing a third consecutive victory at the 2018 World Cup.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Barcelona star Luis Suarez scored his second goal of the tournament on Monday, as the veteran striker gave Uruguay the lead early on against hosts Russia.

Suarez stepped up for a free kick just outside the penalty area, and slotted the ball brilliantly past the Russia goalkeeper at his near post.

Both teams have already advanced out of Group A after winning their first two matches, however, Monday’s victor (if there is one) will likely decide who tops the group.

Argentine players likely selecting lineup for Nigeria match

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The Albiceleste entered Russia among the favorites to win the World Cup, but now Argentina is on the brink of disaster and possibly crashing out of the group stage.

Through two Group D matches, Argentina sits on one point, and needs a victory over Nigeria to have a shot at advancing to the knockout phase.

Drastic changes appear to be coming for the CONMEBOL nation, after relations with manager Jorge Sampaoli have soured significantly over the last week-and-a-half.

Rumors have suggested that Lionel Messi and the elder players in the squad will select the starting XI for Argentina’s do-or-die fixture on Tuesday, with Sampaoli simply staying on as manager to avoid further embarrassment to the federation.

Sampaoli is expected to still be on the sidelines for the match, though.

Meanwhile, Argentine television outlet TNT Sports LA revealed a potential lineup ahead of Tuesday’s Group D finale against Nigeria.

The starting XI, if true, would feature four changes from the Albiceleste’s 3-0 defeat to Croatia last Thursday, including the introduction of River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani for Chelsea’s Willy Caballero.