Santa Tecla 0, Real Salt Lake 0 | CONCACAF Champions League Match Recap
Real Salt Lake wanted to grab all three points Tuesday night against Santa Tecla FC to top their CONCACAF Champions League group. Things did not go according to plan, but they still managed to get where they wanted.
The two teams played a sloppy, back-and-forth match for 90 minutes that ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw at Estadio Las Delicias. Midfielder John Sterzer picked up a red card in the 81st minute, which put RSL on their heels, but they were able to weather the storm and leave El Salvador with a point and first place in Group G.
RSL will face the same team again in their next group match, at home on Sept. 24.
RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland nearly put the visitors up in the 40th minute of the first half. He was played in all alone by a great cross from Olmes Garcia, but the Englishman put his shot far over the bar, failing to capitalize on the best chance of the game to that point.
The hosts nearly got a breakthrough of their own immediately following halftime in the 46th minute.
Santa Tecla were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, and former Chivas USA youth product Gerson Mayen, who played 20 MLS games from 2008-11, blasted a curling shot toward the upper left corner of RSL’s goal. Jeff Attinella sprung into action and parried the shot away just in time.
The match became increasingly direct for most of the second half. RSL, who a fielded a lineup of mostly reserves, brought on starting attackers Javier Morales and Joao Plata in the 72nd minute in an attempt to wrest back control of the match.
But they barely had a chance to get adjusted before Sterzer picked up a second yellow for a foul on a Santa Tecla break. RSL captain Kyle Beckerman then entered the match in the 81st minute for Devon Sandoval, and the team bunkered down for the draw.
A late strike by Elías Vásquez nearly stole the win at the death, but his dipping shot from just inside the box was parried away by Santa Tecla goalkeeper Juan Trinidad. The final whistle blew moments later.
RSL stretched their Champions League shutout streak to 526 minutes. They will now return home to face the LA Galaxy in league play in hopes of keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.