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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Real Salt Lake dives back into CCL play after 3-year hiatus

(by James Edwards deseretnews.com 8-3-15)

Just three days removed from its bizarre loss at D.C. United, Real Salt Lake will try to shift focuses to CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday night in Guatemala.

In its first of four CCL group games over the next two months, RSL faces Guatemalan club Municipal (8 p.m., Fox Soccer) at Estadio Mateo Flores.

This is Real Salt Lake’s third participation in the Champions League. In the 2010-11 tourney, RSL lost in the final to Monterrey. Two years later in the 2012-13 version, it failed to advance out of group play.

RSL’s all-time record in CCL play is 8-4-4.

After a three-year hiatus, Real Salt Lake is back in group play, and its first game comes during a very congested part of its schedule. RSL, Municipal and Santa Tecla (El Salvador) will all play each other twice, with the group winner advancing to next year’s knockout stages.

“It’s a really exciting part of the season, we have everything to play for in front of us. Lot of important games and a lot of games that have been riding on it, it’s a good time to be a player on this team,” said Kyle Beckerman prior to RSL’s departure last week.

RSL coach Jeff Cassar said lineup rotation would be necessary for the club to be competitive throughout its five-game, 15-day stretch, which still includes games in Guatemala, Vancouver, Kansas City and then home at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Guatemala native Elias Vasquez is among the players who will likely start on Tuesday after being an unused sub in the 6-4 loss to D.C. United. Nick Rimando could also feature in the match after being held out against D.C. United with a knee contusion.

Guatemala’s Liga Nacional just kicked off its 2015 Apetura season on Sunday, with Municipal falling to Mictlan 1-0.



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