28 April, 2011

Better Luck Next Time

Last night, Real Salt Lake hosted Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, bringing a 2-2 aggregate score into Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Utah. It looked as if RSL would break Mexico's five year winning streak in the CCL, as they only needed a tie to win the title.

Fabian Espindola had the first effort at Monterrey's goal, and his effort slipped just wide of the right post in the 10th minute. Then in the 30th minute, Humberto Suazo took a free kick and very nearly created a goal for Jose Basanta, but Nick Rimando grabbed the ball away from Basanta just in time. The first half was just about to end, but in first half stoppage time, Sergio Santana dribbled through the entire RSL defense and after drawing all four defenders, Santana threaded a pass to Suazo. Suazo took a perfect control touch with his left foot past Rimando and easily scored with his right to give Monterrey a 1-0 lead on the road.

Real Salt Lake needed a tying goal to win the Championship. Jamison Olave and Will Johnson both shot just over the crossbar in the 56th and 59th minutes. RSL continued to attack but Monterrey defended everything and held on for Mexico's sixth consecutive CONCACAF Club Championship. Monterrey, the reigning champions of Mexico, will represent CONCACAF at the World Club Championships. Man of the Match, as always, was Humberto Suazo of Chile, the best professional soccer player in North America. Highlights and more here. Congratulations to Real Salt Lake for their admirable effort. It would have been nice to have captain Kyle Beckerman in the second leg, but Humberto Suazo and Los Rayados are just too good.


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