SANTA TECLA, El Salvador (Tuesday, September 15, 2015) – Real Salt Lake had a chance to seize control of Group G in CONCACAF Champions League action on Tuesday with its second road match of the Group Stage in El Salvador against Santa Tecla FC.
With a largely reserve lineup that saw 10 changes from Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo, RSL kept a clean sheet through five saves from GK Jeff Attinella to extend its CCL shutout streak to 526 consecutive minutes dating back to a Group Stage match against Herediano in 2012, but could not capitalize on its few scoring opportunities and finished in a scoreless draw.
Head Coach Jeff Cassar started a lineup that included five players making their first ever CONCACAF Champions League starts, including RSL-Arizona Academy products DF Justen Glad and FW Sebastian Saucedo and did enough to earn the draw despite going down a man late in the match. While it wasn’t three points, the single point was enough for Salt Lake to pull even with Municipal in Group G with four points through two matches, while the Guatemalan side has four points through three matches.
RSL has two home matches remaining in the Group Stage, leaving the Claret-and-Cobalt in control of the group.
In a physical game that saw 38 fouls called, Real Salt Lake’s first shot didn’t come until the 28th minute as it fought to contend with the turf field. In that instant, FW Sebastian Saucedo led MF Luis Gil up the right side of the box for a well-taken shot that Tecla goalkeeper Juan Trinidad parried over the crossbar for a corner kick.
In the 40th minute, another opportunity came up when MF Luke Mulholland was played in behind the defense. He got into the box unmarked, but an unlucky bounce on the turf had Mulholland lift his shot high over the crossbar and the match remained scoreless.
Santa Tecla appeared to take the lead in first-half stoppage time when Ricardinho put the ball in the back of the net off a free kick from Gerson Mayen, but he was flagged offside and the goal was waved off. It was the fourth offside call on Santa Tecla and proved to be costly, keeping the match scoreless heading into halftime.
That score held through much of the second half, then RSL brought on MF Javier Morales and FW Joao Plata in the 72nd minute.
However the spark of those second half subs was dulled slightly by MF John Stertzer seeing two yellow cards in a six-minute stretch to see a red card ejection, leaving RSL a man down from the 79th minute.
Head Coach Jeff Cassar responded by inserting MF Kyle Beckerman and despite being down a man Salt Lake saw more opportunities in the closing minutes.
The best of those came in the 90th minute, as RSL nearly swiped the advantage when DF Elias Vasquez blasted a ball from the edge of the box that Trinidad swatted away to the far side. Neither team could find the game-winner though, and it finished in a 0-0 draw.
RSL will return to MLS play on Saturday, hosting the LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium in a 7:30 p.m. MT kickoff. The next match in CCL play will be September 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium against Santa Tecla FC, with RSL hosting the Group Stage finale on October 20 against Municipal.
SANTA TECLA FC 0-0 REAL SALT LAKE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015
ESTADIO LAS DELICIAS
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Santa Tecla FC 0 0 0
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
RSL: Abdoulie Mansally (Yellow; Foul) 43’
RSL: Justen Glad (Yellow; Foul) 45’
RSL: John Stertzer (Yellow; Foul) 73’
RSL: Devon Sandoval (Yellow; Foul) 76’
RSL: John Stertzer (Yellow; Foul) 79’
RSL: John Stertzer (Red; Second Yellow) 79’
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran, Elias Vasquez, Justen Glad, Abdoulie Mansally; Luke Mulholland, John Stertzer, Luis Gil (Javier Morales 72’); Sebastian Saucedo (Joao Plata 72’), Devon Sandoval (Kyle Beckerman 81’), Olmes Garcia.
Substitutes not used: Nick Rimando, Aaron Maund, Jordan Allen, Juan Manuel Martinez.
Santa Tecla FC (5-3-2): Juan Trinidad; Kevin Ayala, Roberto Dominguez, Ivan Mancia, Diego Chavarria, Miguel Palafox (Luis Hinestroza 46’); Gerson Mayen, Juan Barahona (Henry Escobar 88’), Ricardinho; Martin Gimenez, Irvin Herrera (William Maldonado 57’).
Substitutes not used: Henry Escobar, Giovanni Zavaleta, Daniel Moreno, Aldair Rivera.