CCL: RSL gets much needed win in Panama
by Ethan Gomberg
Real Salt Lake was in a do or die situation in Panama on Tuesday night.
If they wanted to have any chance of making it to the next round of the CONCACAF Champions League, they had to get a win.
A draw or loss would almost definitely dropped them out of competition to advance to the next round.
Tuesday’s opponent was Tauro FC, 2011 season champions of the Panama league.
Struggling to maintain a hold on 2nd place in their domestic league this year, Tauro is still a strong club who is very strong at home. Their previous battle with RSL in Utah last month ended in the MLS side’s victory, on goals from captain Kyle Beckerman and forward Álvaro Saborío.
RSL captain Beckerman was ejected with a red card shortly after scoring his goal causing his suspension.
Beckerman’s absense was felt throughout the stressful 90+ minutes of game tonight.
Frst choice center backs, Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave were able to start (they were not able to in the last matches due to injury and suspensions).
Most of it was RSL pressuring and Tauro trying to get the counter in front of what looked like less than a 1,000 spectators. Late Substitutions Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez added some much needed energy to the match.
Deep in stoppage time Saborio found himself in a one on one situation with the Tauro keeper who made contact with the Costa Rican striker.
The obvious contact gave the referee no choice, leading to a penalty kick by Saborio. Saborio buried the goal, leading RSL to a 1-0 victory, but perhaps at a high price as Saborio was carted off the pitch.
Now RSL controls their own destiny. They host nemesis Costa Rican champs, C.S. Herediano, who defeated RSL in their first CONCACAF matchup, 1-0. Now Herediano comes to Utah to play RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium in October.
There is a coveted place in the next round at stake.
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran (Sebastian Velasquez, 81’); Ned Grabavoy; Jonny Steele (Luis Gil 60’), Will Johnson; Javier Morales (C); Fabían Espíndola (Paulo Jr., 76’), Álvaro Saborío
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Emiliano Bonfigli, Kenny Mansally, Chris Schuler
Tauro FC (4-3-1-2)– Vladimir Villareal; Eduardo Dasent, Reinel Herrera, Leonel Parris, Rolando Botello (Ismael Diaz, 57’); Carlos Salazar (Ruben Martinez, 68’), Juan Perez (C), Jean McLean; Juan Vargas; Marcos Sanchez, Hector Peñazola (Mane Asprilla, 76’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alvaro Anzola (GK), Jose Marmolejo, Cristian Pareja, Elmer Pinto