REAL SALT LAKE DRAWS
COLUMBUS CREW IN CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINAL ROUND
All-MLS Showdown to Begin Championship Stage Starts in Columbus Final Week of February, with RSL Hosting Return Leg between March 1-3
SANDY, Utah / NEW YORK (Monday, November 1, 2010) – Real Salt Lake will meet a familiar foe in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League, as the Group A victor has drawn fellow MLS competitor Columbus Crew in the opening round of the regional tournament’s Championship Stage.
Real Salt Lake will head to Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, for the first leg of the home-and-away series, which will take place between February 22-24. The two sides will then head to Sandy for the return leg at Rio Tinto Stadium the following week, with the decisive second leg scheduled to be held between March 1-3. All series in the CCL’s Championship Stage will be played in an aggregate-goal format, with the number of away goals scored determining advancement should the series be even after 180 minutes of regulation play.
“Competitively, our draw results in a level playing field due to both teams being at the same stage of preseason and hailing from similar climates in February and March,” said Real Salt Lake General Manager and Senior VP of Soccer Operations Garth Lagerwey. “The two-leg series will surely be a hard-fought battle with another MLS team who, like us, has been rewarded for placing maximum effort into this regional competition.”
The winner of the Real Salt Lake-Columbus series will be guaranteed to square off against a Central American side in the Semifinal Round, as Costa Rican powerhouse Deportivo Saprissa and Honduran champion CD Olimpia have been drawn on the same side of the bracket as the two MLS rivals. The opposite side of the draw is an all-Mexican Primera Division affair, as RSL’s Group A nemesis Cruz Azul will take on Santos Laguna in one quarterfinal, and Monterrey and Toluca will square off in the other “Round of 8” contest.
Monterrey or Toluca will host the first leg of its semifinal against Santos or Cruz Azul March 15-17, with RSL or Columbus being at home against Olimpia or Saprissa the same week. Santos or Cruz Azul, and either Olimpia or Saprissa host the second leg of the semifinals April 5-7.
The results of the draw assured a Mexican team of reaching the final for a third straight year, which will host the first leg of the championship series April 19-21. The second leg will be either at Salt Lake, Columbus, Olimpia or Costa Rica April 26-28.
Real Salt Lake placed heavy importance on the CONCACAF Champions League in its first-ever appearance, the attention paying off massively as RSL became the first MLS club to win its Group Stage in nine tries since the competition was reformatted for the 2008/09 tournament. Real Salt Lake captured top spot in Group A across the last two-plus months by accruing a 4-1-1 record (13 points) in home-and-away meetings against Cruz Azul, Toronto FC (CAN), and Árabe Unido (PAN), the Utah side posting wins in all three of its home contests along the way, including an impressive 3-1 result over then-co-leader Cruz Azul on Oct. 19 to close out group play.
2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Championship Stage Draw (home teams listed first)
Toluca (MEX) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Santos Laguna (MEX)
Columbus Crew (USA) vs. Real Salt Lake (USA)
Saprissa (CRC) vs. Olimpia (HON)
Monterrey (MEX) vs. Toluca (MEX)
Santos Laguna (MEX) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
Real Salt Lake (USA) vs. Columbus Crew (USA)
Olimpia (HON) vs. Saprissa (CRC)
Real Salt Lake-Columbus winner vs. Olimpia-Saprissa winner
Monterrey-Toluca winner vs. Santos-Cruz Azul winner
Olimpia-Saprissa winner vs. Real Salt Lake-Columbus winner
Santos-Cruz Azul winner vs. Monterrey-Toluca winner
Santos-Cruz Azul/Monterrey-Toluca winner vs. Olimpia-Saprissa/Real Salt Lake-Columbus winner
Olimpia-Saprissa/Real Salt Lake-Columbus winner vs. Santos-Cruz Azul/Monterrey-Toluca winner