PANAMA CITY, Panama (Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012) – Real Salt Lake (2-1-0, 6 points, 2nd in Group 2) scored a last-minute goal on Tuesday night to keep control of its own CONCACAF Champions League destiny, getting a penalty kick winner from forward Alvaro Saborio in the third and final minute of second half stoppage time to win 1-0 at Panamanian club Tauro FC (0-3-0, 0 points, 3rd in Group 2).
The win moves RSL to 2-1-0 in CCL Group 2. The team remains in second place in the Group, trailing first-place C.S. Herediano – which beat the Claret-and-Cobalt 1-0 in Costa Rica on July 31 and has a game in hand on the Utah team – by virtue of head-to-head record.
Real Salt Lake will have an opportunity to jump Herediano to win the group and qualify for the CCL Quarterfinals when they take on the Costa Rican champions in the Group 2 finale at Rio Tinto Stadium on Oct. 23. Head Coach Jason Kreis and the team know that it’ll have to win that game to advance; the team won’t know by how many goals it’ll need to win by – head-to-head goal difference is the relevant tiebreaker here – until after Herediano hosts Tauro on Sept. 25.
Tuesday’s result eliminated Tauro from contention for the CCL Quarters.
Both sides made changes to the lineups that started Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 Aug. 18 victory over Tauro at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL saw defenders Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave as well as forward Fabian Espindola return to the starting lineup, but played without captain Kyle Beckerman due to a red card suspension.
Tauro ran out a vastly different squad than it did in the sides’ first meeting, making five changes to the starting lineup that lost 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium last month.
The first half was a bit disjointed, with Tauro content to sit back and defend in two banks of four and play a slow, methodical game. RSL held the majority of possession, but struggled to create many clear-cut chances.
The Claret-and-Cobalt’s best opportunity of the half came in the eighth minute. Defender Tony Beltran and midfielder Jonny Steele combined well on the right wing and Beltran hit a good cross into the box, picking out midfielder Will Johnson at the back post. Johnson hit a first-time volley across the face of goal toward Saborio in the six, but the Costa Rican international couldn’t redirect the ball on frame and the ball went out for a goal kick.
RSL had another decent look in the 22nd. Saborio had the chance, heading an Espindola cross just wide of the left post from the penalty spot.
The last 20 minutes of the first half were very quiet, with neither team able to muster more than a half chance before the break.
Things opened up in the second half, with both teams needing a goal to take the lead to keep their CCL hopes alive. RSL had the first chance of the final frame in the 47th minute, when Espindola hit a cross from the left wing that a Tauro defender nearly headed in for an own goal.
Real Salt Lake kept pressuring the Tauro goal, nearly scoring in the 57th and 66th minutes. Midfielder Javier Morales had the first chance, getting on the end of a Johnson corner kick at the right post and hitting a free header just wide of the near post. Substitute midfielder Luis Gil had the second opportunity; running on to a Saborio lay off in the right side of the box before firing a shot that Tauro goalie Vladimir Villareal did well to keep out.
Tauro had a good look in the 75th, when attacking midfielder Juan Vargas snapped a long shot just wide of RSL goalie Nick Rimando’s left post.
Both ‘keepers came up big in 83rd minute. Villareal was up first, blocking a 15-yard rocket shot from Saborio. Rimando came up with an equally impressive save seconds later, getting a touch to a low drive that looked destined for the back of the net.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had yet another near miss in the 88th minute, when defender Chris Wingert nodded a corner kick agonizingly wide of the far post.
Both teams desperately pushed for a goal in the final few minutes. Things looked bleak for RSL until Mexican referee Mauricio Morales called for a penalty seconds before the final whistle.
Morales started the play by passing to a wide-open Saborio in the right side of the box. Villareal decided to come way off of his line and Saborio took advantage, taking a touch around the young goalie before getting pulled down inside the 18. He put away the ensuing penalty, hitting a low shot off of Villareal’s hands and just inside the right post to give RSL the big win.
Real Salt Lake returns to action this Saturday with a league game against the Portland Timbers (7-14-7, 28 points, 8th in West) at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 1-TAURO FC 0
- Saborio’s goal was his 16th across all competitions in 2012. The Costa Rican international now has 50 goals in 91 career games across all competitions for the Claret-and-Cobalt, the most in Real Salt Lake history. The team is now 29-5-5 in games in which Saborio scores.
- This was the second time Saborio scored a second half stoppage time penalty to win a CCL game. The first occasion came in a 2-1 win over Panamanian club Arabe Unido in the 2010/2011 CCL Group Stage.
- Saborio’s successful PK conversion makes him 12-for-12 from the spot in his RSL career. He now has 16 game-winning goals across all competitions for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
- Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news for Saborio on Tuesday night. RSL’s star striker picked up his second yellow card of the CCL in the 66th minute, meaning he’ll be suspended for RSL’s decisive Group 2 finale against C.S. Herediano on Oct. 23.
- Tuesday’s game was the second straight RSL match that saw a penalty kick winner scored in the final minute of stoppage time. The Claret-and-Cobalt was on the losing side of things last time, giving up a game-winning PK in the 94th minute to fall 0-1 at Houston on Sept. 6.
- RSL defender Jamison Olave went the full 90 on Tuesday night, his first action in a competitive match since he injured his hamstring in the Utah side’s 1-0 CCL loss at Herediano on July 31.
- RSL midfielder Sebastian Velasquez came on as a substitute on Tuesday, playing nine minutes after being inserted for defender Tony Beltran in the 81st minute. It was Velasquez’s first game action since he came on as a sub in RSL’s 0-5 loss at San Jose on July 14.
REAL SALT LAKE 1-TAURO FC 0
TUESDAY, SEPT. 18, 2012
ESTADIO ROMMEL FERNANDEZ
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 1 1
Tauro FC 0 0 0
Scoring Summary: RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Penalty) – 90+3’
Misconduct Summary: TAU – Reinel Herrera (Foul) – 41’
TAU – Juan Vargas (Delay of Game) – 58’
TAU – Carlos Salazar (Dissent) – 58’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Foul) – 66’
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
Referee: Mauricio Morales