It's up to me to motivate them, and it's up to the players to get a response. – RSL coach Jeff Cassar

The playoffs are out of the picture for Real Salt Lake, but there's a crucial match awaiting them on Tuesday anyway.

In the final match of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage, RSL faces Guatemalan standout Municipal, and they'll need a result — a win or a draw, in particular — to progress to the quarterfinals in February. Otherwise, Municipal progresses from the three-team group.

With any playoff hopes gone after two consecutive home losses, RSL coach Jeff Cassar has a difficult motivational task ahead of him.

"We’re out of the playoffs," he said. "It’s difficult. It really is. It's up to me to motivate them, and it's up to the players to get a response."

Javier Morales, 35 and out of contract with RSL at the end of the year, said the team knows there are few games bigger than this one.

"Especially for the people, for the fans, they deserve more," Morales said.

RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said the team is now completely focused on progressing in the tournament.

"(We need to) find a way to get a result, find a way to get into the knockout rounds, see if we can start off next year with something really important to play for," he said. "It’s always really good for the fans, and it’s a fun tournament to play in, so we’ll just give everything we’ve got and hope it’ll be enough."

CCL matches can get ugly or petulant quickly, with conflicting standards of soccer coming to a head — Real Salt Lake fans might remember Arabe Unido or Tauro FC as two teams that came to Rio Tinto Stadium and played a sharply focused time-wasting game.

With several years of experience in the tournament, Beckerman said the team knows what to expect.

"It’s just something you’ve got to be a part of, just be prepared for," he said. "It’s just the way our region of soccer is.

"Sometimes, it’s not very fun or it’s ugly, and you’ve just got to do it, but that’s the way it is."

But while that approach can work when a team could progress with a draw, Municipal can't — they have to beat Real Salt Lake to make it out of the group stage.

That's why Morales expects Municipal to come in needing to score and said he also expects an open game.

"Here, in our stadium, we like to play soccer," he said. "So they're going to come here, and they have to attack, so it’s going to be an open field, and it’s going to be fun."

Beckerman said the team can't count on all 90 minutes of the game being open — the team has to prepare for other contingencies.

"Sometimes, they might come in, and say, 'hey, we have 90 minutes, so let’s not just go in the beginning' — so maybe they’ll be more cautious in the beginning, then at the end of the game, maybe start to come out," he said. "We’ll just have to see what happens and try and do our best, play the best we can, and hopefully that’ll bring us some goals."

With only two days to train between Saturday's loss to FC Dallas and Tuesday's match against Municipal, Cassar said he's focused on ensuring the team has the proper energy to compete.

"With two days rest, it’s about getting their bodies back and making sure we have the right energy because this game's going to take a lot of energy, a lot of commitment," he said. "It’s going to be a rough game. They’re a very physical team, and we’re going to have to match that, beat that at home to be successful.

But while Beckerman, Morales and Juan Manuel "El Burrito" Martinez played 90 minutes against FC Dallas on Saturday, Cassar said he expects all three to be fully prepared.

"We don’t have a roster to throw out a completely different team, and we wanted to make sure we had the right attitude, the right product on the field for the home game," he said. "But they take care of their bodies well, they had yesterday off with regen. Today, it was just a little bit more than a regen, so I fully expect them to be 100 percent."

Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox.

Twitter: TheCrossbarRSL

Email: montgomery.matt@gmail.com