Thursday, February 25, 2016
Real Salt Lake concedes twice in second half, drops CCL opener 2-0
At the hour mark of Wednesday’s tilt against Mexican club Tigres, Real Salt Lake appeared to be in a pretty good position. It had defended well enough to keep the match scoreless, and the attack had created a few promising flurries going forward.
The final half hour, however, unfolded how many feared it would and RSL now finds itself in a pretty big hole in the return leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series.
Tigres scored in the 67th minute and then again in the 86th minute to pull away for the 2-0 victory at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, Mexico.
The second leg of the CCL series is slated for next Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8 p.m. Real Salt Lake would need a 2-0 victory after 90 minutes to send the two-leg aggregate series into overtime.
The first tiebreaker is away goals, so if Tigres scores a goal during the 90 minutes then RSL would need to win by three goals — a virtual impossibility against the current Liga Mx champs.
Real Salt Lake certainly had chances to steal a point, if not more, on the road Wednesday.
In the 23rd minute, Tony Beltran sent a pass into the box behind Yura Movsisyan that would’ve been a sure goal had he put the ball in front of Movsisyan just a few yards from goal.
Shortly before halftime, Movsisyan found himself in the box all alone with Tigres’ keeper, but he shanked his shot wide and high of the target.
In the 45th minute, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman was whistled for a handball in the box as he every so slightly deflected a driven shot by Rafael Sóbis with his outstretched arm.
To the surprise of none of the RSL faithful, Nick Rimando saved the penalty kick by André-Pierre Gignac, who hit it very poorly to Rimando’s left.
Perhaps feeling the pressure of needing the home result, Tigres seemed to attack with more urgency in the second half and Real Salt Lake frequently found itself on the back foot.
In the 67th minute, Tigres finally broke through as José Arturo Rivas headed a shot past Rimando for the 1-0 lead.
Had the scoreline held it would’ve been a respectable result for Real Salt Lake, which was playing its first competitive match of the 2016 season. Tigres’ attack continued plodding in search of the second goal, and it finally came in the 86th minute as Jürgen Damm tapped in his own rebound for the 2-0 lead.