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RSL Communications

RSL comes close to history in 5-4 defeat at Cruz Azul

Real Salt Lake came so very close to making history in Mexico City, but a late goalscoring furry denied the MLSers as they fell to Cruz Azul, 5-4, in a wild Champions League match hindered by heavy rainfall and a waterlogged pitch.

Real Salt Lake had paced a 3-2 lead with just two minutes remaining on the clock. Had they held on to that tenuous advantage, they would have become the first MLS team to have won a meaningful game in Mexico.

However, as perpetual rain turned the field to a small lake, a series of slap-stick routines resulted in an outrageous four-goal scoring flurry that saw Javier Orozco finish the night with four goals and Christian Gimenez tally a stoppage-time winner for the host Cementeros.

Cruz Azul jumped out early after youngster Orozco received a pass off of a quick restart that found him in behind the defense, and he easily sidestepped Rimando to score the goal.  
Real Salt Lake leveled in the 23rd minute after a deflected ball found its way to Espindola's feet, and as he maneuvered in behind the defense he was fouled by defender Horacio Cervantes. Alvaro Saborio stepped up to convert the tying PK.
Saborio added his fourth goal of the tournament near the end of the first half as he picked off a back pass by Cervantes, who had not accounted for the pool of water between himself and the goalkeeper. The ball failed to travel the full distance back to his teammate, and Saborio pounced on the opportunity to give RSL a halftime lead.
The Mexican side came out in attack mode in the second half, intent on getting an equalizer. However, RSL would capitalize with a counterattack when Saborio put pressure on a defender and picked his pocket. He then played a wonderful square ball that caught Fabian Espindola, who put the ball away with his left foot.

Cruz Azul narrowed the advantage in the 75th minute when Orozco scored his second of the match. He collected the ball off of a free kick with his back to the goal before turning and taking a shot that deflected off of the leg of an RSL defender. The deflection caught Rimando diving to his right as the ball headed toward his left and into the net.

In the 87th minute Orozco scored his third of the match to bring it level, and then added a fourth in the 89th minute to give Cruz Azul the advantage.  

However, Will Johnson appeared to earn RSL the point two minutes into stoppage time. The celebration would be short-lived, though, as Cruz Azul took the re-start down into the RSL end and scored with a blast from the top of the area by Gimenez.