GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Tuesday, August 4, 2015) – Real Salt Lake made its return to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday in Guatemala and grinded out a 1-0 win over Municipal in the first of four matches for the Claret-and-Cobalt in Group G.
FW Joao Plata scored an early goal and GK Nick Rimando made three saves for the shutout to get RSL out to a strong start to group play at Estadio Mateo Flores.
While Real Salt Lake spent most of the first half in control of the match, Municipal went into halftime with an 8-1 shot advantage. However, Plata made sure that RSL’s only shot of the half counted.
In the second minute, RSL roared to an early lead after earning a free kick in the attacking third. MF Javier Morales sent it into the box and after the ball bounced around it fell to Plata 18 yards out. He skipped a shot inside the right post and in for a 1-0 lead.
Though things were tilted mostly in favor of Real Salt Lake, Municipal earned a good opportunity in the 42nd minute. Carlos Ruiz ripped a 26-yard free kick over the wall and nearly beat Rimando, but he got enough of the ball to deflect it into the crossbar and RSL cleared it to maintain the 1-0 advantage into halftime.
RSL nearly made it 2-0 in the 65th minute when FW Sebastian Jaime and Plata got a pair of shots on goal. Jaime turned a right-footed shot that was saved off the line by Paulo Motta. Off the rebound, Plata lifted a shot toward the far post with Motta pulled off the line. It was headed into the side netting, but was cleared with a header off the line by an alert Municipal defender and the lead remained at 1-0.
Ruiz remained a nuisance for RSL throughout the match and in the 78th minute, he got on the end of a ball that skipped across the box, but his shot was smothered by Rimando at the post and the scare was eluded.
RSL held on to the final whistle and moved to the top of the Group G standings after the first match.
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS play to take on Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the third and final regular season meeting of the year between the two clubs on Saturday, August 8 at BC Place in Vancouver.
Current Group G Standings
Real Salt Lake (1-0-0, 3 pts., 1 GF, 0 GA)
Santa Tecla (0-0-0, 0 pts., 0 GF, 0 GA)
CSD Municipal (0-1-0, 0 pts., 0 GF, 1 GA)
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – MUNvRSL
- RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando played his first match since leaving for CONCACAF Gold Cup duties with the U.S. National Team. His last start for RSL came on June 27, a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew.
- With his goal on Tuesday, FW Joao Plata has scored a goal in each of his last four matches across all competitions. Three of those goals came in MLS play.
- The next Champions League bout for RSL will come September 15 against Santa Tecla in El Salvador.
CSD MUNICIPAL 0-1 REAL SALT LAKE
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2015
ESTADIO MATEO FLORES
Goals by Period 1 2 F
CSD Municipal 0 0 0
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
RSL: Joao Plata 2’
MUN: Johnny Woodly (Yellow; Foul) 14’
RSL: Kyle Beckerman (Yellow; Foul) 28’
RSL: Demar Phillips (Yellow; Foul) 94+’
Municipal (3-5-2): Paulo Motta; Luis Cardona (Jaime Alas 46’), Dennis Lopez, Jhonny Giron; Marco Rivas (Cristian Jimenez 46’), Keylor Soto, Carlos Hernandez (Darwin Oliva 65’), Albizuris, Sixto Betancourt; Carlos Ruiz (C), Johnny Woodly.
Substitutes not used: Cristian Alvarez, Manuel Moreno, Gerardo Arias, Pedro Altan.
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Elias Vasquez, Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luke Mulholland, Javier Morales; Olmes Garcia, Sebastian Jaime (Devon Sandoval 81’), Joao Plata (Luis Silva 87’).
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Abdoulie Mansally, Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo, John Stertzer.
Referee: Raul Castro