SANDY, Utah (Thursday, September 22, 2022) – Despite an historic, highlight-reel goal from 70 yards out by Homegrown defender Aaron Herrera, a short-handed Real Salt Lake side fell 2-1 at home to Liga MX Champions Atlas FC in the final 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase contest of the year.
With the loss, RSL falls to an all-time 3W-7L-4T record against Mexican visitors, and an 18W-13L-11T overall international record, including both Leagues Cup losses (2019 v Tigres). Atlas FC was the 30th different foreign opponent from 16 countries to comprise the 42 Claret-and-Cobalt games against international competition, including Leagues Cup, CONCACAF Champions League and friendly exhibitions during the last 18 years.
Real Salt Lake started out on the front foot, nearly scoring in the eighth minute when midfielder Jasper Loffelsend hit a short, curling cross to RSL Homegrown Bode Hidalgo, who headed down a bouncing header that was tipped just over the crossbar by Atlas FC goalkeeper Jose Hernandez. Just a few minutes later, the Claret-and-Cobalt opened the scoring in stunning fashion, in the 17th minute, when Herrera - with 180+ MLS reg. season games under his belt, but only one goal - caught Hernandez off his line and hit a rocket from inside his own half, sailing it over the Atlas defense and into the back of the net. RSL nearly doubled its tally about ten minutes later when quick build up saw Hidalgo make a short cross to midfielder Pablo Ruiz, but his volley skipped just wide of the right post.
In a controversial call, winger Justin Meram was shown a straight red card for a high kick going into the chest of an Atlas player in the 37th minute, leaving the Club shorthanded the rest of the match. Shortly thereafter, Atlas found the equalizer with midfielder Edgar Zaldivar scoring off an initial save from goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. The two sides entered the halftime break tied at 1-1.
In the second frame of play, Real Salt Lake and Atlas FC traded shots and possession but neither side was able to find a breakthrough until the 72nd minute when second-half substitute Lucas Rodriguez fired a shot into the top shelf to give Atlas the 2-1 lead. With RSL playing with 10 men, the Club was unable to find the equalizer, ending 2-1 in favor of the away side.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake return to MLS regular-season action on Saturday, October 1 at 8:30 p.m. MT against LA Galaxy before returning to America First Field for Decision Day on Sunday, October 9 at 3:00 p.m. MT, facing Portland Timbers. Tickets are available at www.RSL.com/tickets.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
RSL: Aaron Herrera (Erik Holt) 17th Minute: After receiving a short pass from Holt in the run of play, Aaron Herrera saw the Atlas backline and goalkeeper pushed high up the pitch and rocketed a shot from about 70 yards away, overtop the ‘keeper, to open the scoring.
ATS: Edgar Zaldivar 41st Minute: After Gomez made the initial save on the Atlas corner kick, Zaldivar was able to run up and net the rebound to tie the match at one.
ATS: Lucas Rodriguez 72nd Minute: With Atlas’ initial shot bouncing off the post, Rodriguez received the ball at the center of the box and launched his shot into the top of the net to take the lead.
- Goalkeeper Tomas Gomez made his RSL debut tonight since signing with the Club as an Extreme Hardship signing just before the start of the 2022 MLS season.
- RSL Homegrowns Axel Kei and Jude Wellings made their first appearances with the senior team
- Defender Aaron Herrera netted the longest goal in Club history, with his shot finding the back of the net from 70+ yards away
Match: Real Salt Lake v Atlas FC
Date: September 4, 2022
Venue: America First Field
Weather: Sunny and 73
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
Atlas FC 1 1 2
RSL: Aaron Hererra (Erik Holt) 17’
ATS: Edgar Zaldivar 41’
ATS: Lucas Rodriguez 72’
Real Salt Lake (3-5-2): Tomas Gomez, Aaron Herrera (Justen Glad, 46’), Erik Holt, Nick Besler (Zack Farnsworth, 74’), Andrew Brody (Gennaro Nigro, 62’), Bode Hidalgo (Jude Wellings, 88’), Scott Caldwell, Pablo Ruiz (Marcelo Silva,46’), Jasper Loffelsend, Justin Meram, Danny Musovski (Axel Kei, 46’)
Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Gavin Beavers
Atlas FC (3-5-2): Jose Hernandez, Martin Nervo, Gaddi Aguirre (Alejandro Gomez, 82’), Luis Reyes, Anibal Chala (Emanuel Aguilera, 46’), Diego Barbosa (Jose Abella, 46’), Edyairth Ortega, Jeremy Marquez ( Lucas Rodriguez, 58’), Edgar Zaldivar, Ozziel Herrera (Daniel Cervantes, 82’), Alberto Ocejo (Brayan Trejo, 46’)
Subs not used: Antonio Sanchez, Idekel Dominguez, Abraham Bass, Jorge Guzman
Stats Summary: RSL/ATS
Shots on goal: 2/8
Corner Kicks: 2/4
RSL: Justin Meran (ejection) 37’
RSL: Pablo Mastroeni (caution) 44’
ATS: Gaddi Aguirre (caution) 48’
RSL: Tomas Gomez (caution) 52’
ATS: Edgar Zaldivar (caution) 64’
ATS: Luis Reyes (caution) 78’
RSL: Scott Caldwell (caution) 84’
RSL: Gennaro Nigro (caution) 88’
ATS: Edyairth Ortega (caution) 90+3’
Referee: Joe Dickerson
Assistant Referees: Chris Elliot, Brooke Mayo
4th Official: Guido Gonzales Jr.