From the claret-and-cobalt of Real Salt Lake to the red-and-white of Chivas USA, Robin Fraser has strived to bring what he learned as an assistant coach at Real Salt Lake to the Rojiblancos.
While Fraser’s mind is focused on getting Chivas USA their second victory of the year this weekend, it’s tough to blame him for having an eye to Wednesday’s clash between Real Salt Lake and Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Final (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer/TeleFutura).
Fraser was one of the first people Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis approached about joining his staff when he was appointed to the position in 2007. The pair then worked hand and hand to build RSL from a team that lost their first seven matches to a club that could complete on the continent’s highest stage.
“They’re great guys and good friends, so I wish them the very best,” said Fraser following Chivas USA victory at San Jose last weekend. “When they play at home, there is a level of confidence that is just undeniable.”
When Fraser left to become the head coach of Chivas USA, the blueprint for success was very familiar. Build from the back with a strong defense and reliable goaltending, then focusing on where the goals will come from.
It’s a philosophy Kreis adopted when he first took over Real Salt Lake. Still today, the bonds between Fraser and RSL remain close, with Fraser even spending Easter dinner with the members of the RSL coaching staff back in Salt Lake City.
Despite Monterrey’s quality, the former Real Salt Lake assistant is confident that RSL will be victorious in their battle to become the best in CONCACAF.
“Early in the game, it’ll be very difficult for Monterrey, and if we – I mean if they – can score early, then I know it’s going to be over,” Fraser said. “Obviously the longer it goes, the more confidence Monterrey will get, but [RSL] are such an organized and talented team that I think they’ll prevail.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserran