CCL Preview: Real Salt Lake vs Santa Tecla FC

SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015)  – Thursday night, Real Salt Lake continues its Fall 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League slate, hosting Salvadoran power Santa Tecla FC at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT (TV: Fox Sports 2; RADIO: ESPN700 AM).  This week’s game marks the first of two CCL Group G matches on Utah soil this Fall, as group leader RSL earned four points in August/September trips to Guatemalan champion Municipal and Santa Tecla. Thursday’s match is INCLUDED in the club’s 2015 Season Ticket package, labeled “CONCACAF Game A.”

Real Salt Lake enters Thursday unbeaten in its last three games (2-0-1, seven points) across all competitions, with recent wins over LA Galaxy (3-0) and Houston Dynamo (3-1) seeing the club surge to within three points of the sixth and final Western Conference spot in the 2015 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Last week’s 0-0 draw in El Salvador against Santa Tecla moved RSL atop Group G, tied on four points with Municipal, but ahead on goal difference, even with a game in hand.

RSL controls its destiny in order to advance to next February’s Quarterfinal stage, as a win and a draw in its two home CCL games – the Group G finale coming against Municipal on Tuesday, October 20 at Rio Tinto Stadium (8p MT kickoff, labeled “CONCACAF Game B”) – would clinch passage. The eight Quarterfinal seeds and matchups are determined by group performance (i.e. total points, goals and goal differential), meaning that Jeff Cassar’s club will be best served with the full three points in each of the upcoming home matches.

With this year’s CCL road performances, RSL has improved to 15-8-9 all-time in international contests, with a positive goal differential (48 goals for / 35 goals against). In meaningful int’l competition (i.e., CCL), RSL is now 9-4-5 (30 GF / 18 GA). In the Rio Tinto Stadium era, RSL is 9-1-3 vs. visiting international squads (does NOT include league matches against visiting Canadian teams, against whom RSL is now 12-1-3 (31/12 goal +/-); however, that figure DOES include CCL games vs Columbus).

How to Follow Real Salt Lake v. Santa Tecla FC

•   Coverage Begins: 8:00 p.m. MT

•   TV: Fox Sports 2 – JP Dellacamera & Brian Dunseth

•   English Radio: ESPN700 AM (7:00 p.m. MT) – Bill Riley & Brian Kamler

•   Spanish Radio: 102.3 La Gran D FM / 1600 AM – Nelson Moran & Fernando Hortal

•   Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter feed provides updates

Game Guide for Thursday’s RSL v. Santa Tecla Matchup Now Available Online

Following is the link to the Adobe PDF version of the MLS Game Guide in advance of Thursday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Santa Tecla.

Click here to download the PDF version of the MLS Game Guide for Thursday’s RSL v. Santa Tecla matchup

RSL 2015/16 SCOTIABANK CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NOTES:

RIMANDO/ATTINELLA RISE TO CCL CALL:

RSL GK Nick Rimando – Major League Soccer’s all-time leader in shutouts, with 123 in his 16 seasons with RSL, DCU and Miami – backstopped another clean sheet Aug. 4 in Guatemala, extending his personal shutout streak to 436 minutes in CONCACAF Champions League play. Fellow RSL GK Jeff Attinella notched the zero last Tuesday in El Salvador against Santa Tecla, his first-ever appearance in the competition, pushing RSL’s overall streak to 526 minutes without allowing a goal (spanning five-plus games back to a 14’ goal in the first 2012 group game at Herediano) ... RSL now has 7 shutouts in 18 all-time CCL matches for RSL, with Rimando playing all but 180 of RSL’s all-time tourney minutes (Reynish v Cruz Azul, Oct. 2010; Attinella @ Santa Tecla, Sept. 2015) ...

COMPETITIVE ON CCL ROAD:

The Aug. 4 and Sept. 15 results at Municipal (GUA) & Santa Tecla (SLV) improved RSL to an all-time 3-3-4 road record (13/13 GF/GA) in CCL play, and with the 1-0 win in Guatemala marking the club’s first-ever win outside of Panama ... Previous victories came in 2010 at Arabe Unido (3-2) and 2012 at Tauro FC (2-0) ... RSL lost 0-1 at Herediano (Costa Rica) in 2012 after a 55’ Nat Borchers red card, 4-5 at Cruz Azul in 2010, yet advanced with a goal in a 1-2 loss at another Tico power, Saprissa (2011 semifinals) ... RSL road draws prior to last Tuesday at Santa Tecla came at Toronto (2010 group), at Columbus (2011 quarterfinals) and at Monterrey (MEX) in Leg One of the 2011 Final ... RSL has suffered just 3 road shutouts in 10 road CCL matches ...

OVERALL CCL HISTORY:

RSL now boasts an all-time 9-4-5 mark in CCL action, including a 6-1-1 record at its Rio Tinto Stadium home, where Santa Tecla FC (SLV) visits this Thursday, and Municipal (GUA) closes out the 4-game group stage on Oct. 20, also the final week of the MLS reg. season ... RSL has never allowed more than one goal in any of its 8 CCL home games, with 3 home clean sheets ...

Seven current players – GK Nick Rimando, Capt. Kyle Beckerman, DF Tony Beltran & MF Javier Morales, along with DF Chris Schuler, DF Jamison Olave and MF Luis Gil – have participated in both of RSL’s previous CCL tournaments ... All but Gil participated in the club’s historic 2011 Final series with Monterrey, with Beckerman notably missing Leg Two due to yellow card accumulation ...

Morales, with 4 goals, leads RSL’s active players in all-time CCL goals scored for the club (Saborio led with 10), while both Beckerman and Olave have 3 each in RSL’s 18-game history in the tourney ...

VIRTUALLY NO MARGIN FOR ERROR:

Three-team groups became the rule of the road during RSL’s second CCL iteration in 2012/13, the Utah side learning the hard way that an early stumble – such as the road loss at Herediano in the first game, along with a scoreless draw in the final match, also against Herediano – in a 4-game slate leaves very little margin for error, as goal differential could determine tiebreakers, while quarterfinal seeding in Feb/March will reflect level of group dominance ...

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Real Salt Lake earned its way into the 2015-2016 Champions League tournament with its 2014 regular-season finish, posting a 15-8-11 record (56 points) to earn the third seed in the Western Conference … The two teams that finished ahead of Real Salt Lake in the standings – the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC – both qualified by winning MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield, respectively, RSL next in line for the cascading berth …

This is Real Salt Lake’s third entry into the tournament … In 2010-2011, RSL became the lone American team to reach the tournament final, losing 2-3 on aggregate to Mexican power Monterrey, the first time an MLS club had reached the final under the tournament’s current format … Canadian side Montreal Impact matched that feat this year, but also lost in the final to Mexico’s Club America … In the 2012-2013 tournament, RSL failed to get out of the Group Stage, needing only a goal in the final match against Costa Rican side Herediano, forced to settle for a 0-0 draw that eliminated the club from knockout contention.

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