Santa Tecla vs. Real Salt Lake | CONCACAF Champions League Match Preview
Santa Tecla vs. Real Salt Lake
2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League
September 15 | 10 pm ET | Estadio Las Delicias
TV: Fox Soccer Plus
Real Salt Lake finally ended their eight-game road losing streak in dramatic style with a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night. They’ll look to carry that momentum into CONCACAF Champions League and make it a winning streak with a victory over fresh-faced Santa Tecla in El Salvador on Tuesday night.
RSL currently sit second in Group G after their 1-0 away victory over Guatemala’s Municipal on Aug. 4. If they can get the full three against Santa Tecla, they’ll be sitting comfortably atop the group and poised to make it to the knockout rounds, but first things first.
SHINY AND NEW: Santa Tecla FC has been in existence for a grand total of seven and half years. The club was formed in 2007, three years after RSL was first introduced to Major League Soccer. They’ve only been a part of first-division football in El Salvador as of the 2013 season.
Santa Tecla won the 2012 Apertura second division title and was promoted just five years after their creation. The club won the Clausura 2015 season and booked their place in this year’s CONCACAF Champions League. Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar sees a lot of similarities between both sides.
“They’re a good little team, especially at home on turf,” Cassar said. “It’s a small stadium, but they pack it in. They move the ball quite well. They haven’t had the year, I think, that they’ve wanted. They’ve had some results go against them, probably similar to us. But it’s a game that we want to go down there and get three points.”
PLAYERS COMING AND GOING: Jamison Olave, Sebastian Jaime and Luis Silva all did not travel with the team to El Salvador. Olave didn’t make the trip so that he could get some rest and most likely to avoid playing on the artificial surface. Jaime is celebrating the birth of his son, and Silva is still nursing a calf contusion from the match against the Dynamo.
RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland is rested and ready for the match after serving a yellow-card suspension on Saturday as well as defender Tony Beltran for the same reason. Elias Vasquez will be the likely replacement for Olave in the back and forward Devon Sandoval, who got his second goal of the season against Houston, will likely get the nod up top again in place of Jaime.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
JUAN MANUEL MARTINEZ AND JAVIER MORALES, REAL SALT LAKE: “Burrito” Martinez got his first start of the season on Saturday against the Dynamo and put on a performance that set RSL fans at ease. He opened his scoring account with a scintillating strike and was directly involved in every goal that was scored.
Morales continues to show his quality time and again. His assist in the 68th minute of the Dynamo match moved him to 14th overall on Major League Soccer’s all-time list, giving him 75 in 205 career appearances. RSL’s attack is firing again, and Morales is the man pulling all the strings.
MARTIN GIMENEZ, SANTA TECLA FC: The 28-year old Argentine is responsible for Santa Tecla’s last two goals. Signed on just Aug. 6, Gimenez will be hoping to add to his total on Tuesday night when RSL roll into town.