REAL SALT LAKE LEARNS 2012/13 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP OPPONENTS, SCHEDULE
2010/11 CCL Finalist Grouped with Costa Rican Power
CS Herediano & Panamanian Champion Tauro FC
SANDY, Utah / NEW YORK (Friday, June 22, 2012) – Real Salt Lake (10-4-2, 32 points, West #1) was one of four United States clubs (Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC and Houston Dynamo, joining Canadian MLS brethren Toronto FC) – and 24 teams in the Western Hemisphere’s northern region – which today learned its dates, venues, opponents and overall path in the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League.
Tickets for the Aug 21 & Oct 23 contests are included in the Pride Season Ticket Holders package. General public can purchase tickets starting Monday, June 25 at 10 a.m.
As announced earlier in the month, RSL’s group opponents are a pair of Central American champions, CS Herediano (Costa Rica) and Tauro FC (Panama). In the 2010/11 tourney, RSL split the series but won on aggregate in the SemiFinals against Costa Rican power Saprissa – FW Alvaro Saborio’s former club – and swept Panamanian champion Arabe Unido. The RSL portion of the tourney – with road games televised on Fox Soccer Channel in the U.S. – kicks off on July 31. RSL’s 2012/13 CCL key dates are as follows:
Tue, July 31 RSL @ Herediano (CRC) CCL Matchday #1 – 8:00 p.m. MT
Tue, August 21 Tauro FC (PAN) @ RSL CCL Matchday #2 – 8:00 p.m. MT
Tue-Thu, Aug. 28-30 RSL bye week CCL Matchday #3 –
Tue, Sept. 18 RSL @ Tauro FC (PAN) CCL Matchday #4 – 6:00 p.m. MT
Tue-Thu, Sept. 25-27 RSL bye week CCL Matchday #5 –
Tue, Oct. 23 Herediano (CRC) @ RSL CCL Matchday #6 – 8:00 p.m. MT
Tue-Thu, March 5-7 CCL QuarterFinal Leg 1
Tue-Thu, March 12-14 CCL QuarterFinal Leg 2
Tue-Thu, April 2-4 CCL SemiFinal Leg 1
Tue-Thu, April 9-11 CCL SemiFinal Leg 2
Wed., April 24 CCL Final Leg 1
Wed., May 1 CCL Final Leg 2
In order to advance to next Spring’s Championship Stage, teams MUST emerge as one of eight group winners. In the Fall of 2010, RSL became the first American team – and one of only three non-Mexican teams all-time – to win a CCL group, defeating Cruz Azul (Mexico) in a 3-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake – which fell, 2-3 on aggregate in April, 2011, in the two-game, 2010/11 tournament Final to Mexican power Monterrey – returns to the CONCACAF Champions League following a one-year hiatus, qualifying for this Fall’s upcoming CCL stage by virtue of last season’s third-place finish in the MLS Supporters’ Shield race. MLS Cup 2011 champion Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. Open Cup titlist Seattle Sounders FC captured the top two American spots – thereby dropping the Supporters Shield berth to RSL – while MLS Cup 2011 runners-up Houston Dynamo also earned a CCL slot for the upcoming tourney. A fifth MLS team qualified out of Canada, as Toronto FC recently won the Amway Canadian Championship with a two-leg victory over Vancouver.
Under the coaching tenure of RSL manager Jason Kreis, the team has posted an all-time 6-3-3 mark in its CCL history, posting a 4-1-1 mark in group play. Overall, RSL has outscored its CONCACAF opponents 26/17, with a 17/11 advantage during the group stage. RSL won its first five home games in its 2010/11 CCL foray, prior to dropping the Final, 0-1, to Monterrey. On the road in CCL play, RSL posted a 1-2-3 mark away from home, with the semifinal loss at Saprissa still good enough to clinch the two-leg series. The all-time RSL breakdown in CONCACAF Champions League:
REAL SALT LAKE – CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HISTORY
vs. Team Series W-L GP W-L-T OT ShO GF GA Mtg. Stage Series Result
Arabe Unido (PAN) - --- 2 2-0-0 5 3 2010 Group
Cruz Azul (MEX) - --- 2 1-1-0 7 6 2010 Group
Toronto FC (CAN) - --- 2 1-0-1 5 2 2010 Group
Columbus Crew (USA) 1 1-0 2 1-0-1 4 1 2011 Quarter RSL advance 4-1 agg.
Saprissa (CRC) 1 1-0 2 1-1-0 3 2 2011 Semi RSL advance 3-2 agg.
Monterrey (MEX) 1 0-1 2 0-1-1 2 3 2011 FINAL RSL loses 2-3 agg.
The June 5 draw – held at CONCACAF headquarters in New York City’s Trump Tower – began with the 24 qualified club sides from across the 53-nation region divided among three "pots" from which they were drawn into eight, three-team groups.
As only the group winners will advance, the draw also will in effect determine the knockout Championship Round pairings as well. The team that finishes with the best record in the Group Stage will face the team with the eighth-best record in the quarterfinals. Two will play seven, three will play six, and four will face five.
Likewise, the semifinal pairings also will be determined with the winner of 1-vs-8 advancing against the winner of 4-vs-5, and 3-vs-6 facing 2-vs-7.
The first pot consisted of the Mexican Apertura and Clausura champions (Tigres and Santos), the U.S. league champion and the team with the best overall regular-season record in MLS (LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC), and the champions of Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama that had the best overall record from their split seasons (Olimpia, Herediano, Xelaju and Chorillo).
The second pot was comprised of the Canadian champion (Toronto FC), El Salvador's champion with the best overall record (Isidro Metapan), the second teams from Honduras (Marathon) and Costa Rica (Alajuelense), as well as the third and fourth teams from Mexico (Chivas de Guadalajara and Monterrey) and the United States (Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake).
The final pot contained the three Caribbean qualifiers, all of which were decided this week, and the remaining teams from El Salvador (CD FAS and Aguila), Guatemala (Municipal) and Panama (Tauro FC), as well as Nicaragua's lone entrant (Real Esteli).
The draw rules stipulated that no team would be drawn into a group with a club from its own country, with the possible exception of CD FAS, a wildcard team which qualified in the Belizean berth, previously revoked because the country lacks a stadium that meets the tournament's minimum standard requirements. The teams from the United States and Mexico also will not face each other in the Group Stage.
The full results of the draw and schedules for all teams can be viewed at www.CONCACAFchampions.com.