Espindola leads RSL past Deportivo Saprissa

EspindolaCCL (Reuters)

Real Salt Lake badly needed a convincing victory in its CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg against Deportivo Saprissa on Tuesday, and that's what Jason Kreis' squad delivered as RSL posted a 2-0 victory against Saprissa.

Fabian Espindola was the star of the show, setting up Alvario Saborio's goal before scoring his own to send Real Salt Lake to Costa Rica for the second leg on April 5th with a two-goal cushion.

After having a perfectly good goal waived off for a questionable foul call, RSL quickly opened the scoring when Espindola found Saborio with a pass. The Costa Rican calmly finished against his former club. Espindola netted a vital second goal off a beautiful pass from Andy Williams.

RSL thoroughly outplayed a Saprissa side that appeared content to look for counterattacking opportunities. The RSL defense held firm, even after losing Jamison Olave to a hamstring injury that forced him to leave the match at halftime.

Here are the highlights from Tuesday night's match:

What did you think of Real Salt Lake's performance? Impressed with Espindola's game? Think RSL can hold a two-goal lead at Estadio Saprissa?

Share your thoughts below.

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44 Responses to Espindola leads RSL past Deportivo Saprissa

  1. zacalie says:

    Very pleased with the performance last night, especially since it was a shutout. RSL might not win at Saprissa but they can get an away goal to put them through.za

  2. Seriously says:

    If RSL doesn’t hold their 2-0 lead it will be slightly embarrassing.

  3. Matt says:

    At least RSL beat them at home, i know that they lost 2-0 to Saprissa in 2005(2006) or something like that.

  4. Scott A says:

    I think and hope that RSL will gut it out away and make it to the final.

  5. MLS rules says:

    Unbeatable at RioT!

  6. Bohris says:

    They lost 2-1 to Saprissa in 2008. Chris Wingert with the goal for RSL.

  7. Bob says:

    This game was so much better than LA-Seattle, lack of HD notwithstanding.

  8. Robert Daniels says:

    The Champions! The Champions! These are the Champions! Dosen’t really sound right when I’m referring to CONCACAF Champions League does it?

  9. Thorpinski says:

    I believe they will get the job done on the road. Too bad their 1st goal didn’t count.

  10. Idaho Brian says:

    Fantastic game from RSL…Playing at Estadio Saprissa is a tough order, (even with a 2 goal lead), but RSL has put itself in a very positive position.

    Espindola was the clear man of the match last night. I love the versatility of RSL…one night it could be Espindola, another night you might be torched by Saborio, Morales, Williams, or Johnson (or someone who was on the bench last night). Go RSL, do MLS proud!

  11. CSD says:

    From what I saw, concur.

  12. Micronesia Justin says:

    Carry the flag RSL! What’s up with the pitch? Related note: IF there is no NFL next season, please, dear lord, let Seattle install some grass.

  13. Marcus says:

    Saw it in HD on Telefutura! (don’t have cable, so i didn’t have a choice…)

  14. Hood Rich says:

    Yep, I tried to watch the MLS first kick match but it was like watching headless chicken running around with the ball was bouncing everywhere due to the fast turf.

    The RSL – Saprissa game was definitely played at another level from the MLS game. It was also in HD (rare for CCL match) on FSC. RSL looks again like a class above the rest of the MLS teams in the way they play; not actually kick and run like the other (unwatchable) game.

  15. Groundskeeper Willy says:

    The pitch? It’s flat, but it just came out of hibernation. We have 30 degree temps or lower at night still, and we’re at 5000 feet. It won’t green up over night.

  16. DC Josh says:

    I can’t say enough good things about RSL. They are the crown jewel of MLS. They are MILES away, but them keeping the ball on the carpet and swarming it while on defense reminds me of Barcelona. I love what Jason Kreis has done over there. They deserve to make it to the finals.

  17. Nick says:

    Jason Kreis is an amazing manager. That squad was a machine last night. Very exciting time for MLS. Winning CONCACAF CL would be a major step forward for the league and would position RSL as the new “super club”.

  18. Tom says:

    What is the reason the first goal was called off? Was there a foul before that the video doesn’t show?

  19. Vince Clortho says:

    Casper the friendly ghost foul…

  20. That Borchers goal should have stood. It was only fitting that Saborio scored against his former club. One goal in at Estadio Saprissa would almost seal RSL’s ticket to the semi’s. But it will be tough.

  21. Vince Clortho says:

    Actually the defender’s movement looked a little stilted, but that was the result of him trying to boot the ball at head level and not due to contact from Mr.Borchers…

  22. Monzon says:

    I know they’re not nat’l team level because our glut of relative talent at their positions, but Beckerman and Rimando are absolute studs. RSL is the class of the league right now, and if Bradley doesn’t do well in the next 2 years or after the next world cup, Kreis deserves some serious consideration.

  23. Hincha Tim says:

    The two unsung heroes for me last night were Will Johnson and Tony Beltran. Both very underrated at their respective positions. People don’t realize the importance of Will Johnson in the RSL scheme. The dude covers an incredible amount of ground during the game, is a defensive rock and can get forward. He and Kyle Beckerman really block so many attacks before they ever get started.

    Tony B. in the back shut the Saprissa attacks down consistently and he was very calm and comfortable with the ball under pressure.

    Robbie Russell struggled at times last night and was exposed. I hope Wingert will be healed in time (he should be).

    And Tom, it was a complete phantom call on the first (disallowed goal). Absolutely nothing there, at the time or looking at it multiple times in replay. Terrible call. The ref was awful all game.

    Arturo Alvarez looks terrible. JK should have brought in Paulo Jr. I think we might have gotten a third goal if he had.

  24. Dale says:

    Good Luck RSL I’m putting my money on unbeaten Monterrey, they havent lost a game in CCL playing superior football. Rsl might put up a fight but Monterrey plays in a superior level, I would love to see the best crowd in mexican football against the best crowd in MLS.

  25. papi grande says:

    i am a big fan of bradley BUT….this is bradley’s 2nd 4-year cycle with the US national team….and it will very likely be his last one. the fact that he got a second go around was a surprise…..a third cycle is unheard of and i would bet my first born that there will be a new US national team coach after brazil 2014, if not sooner.

  26. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Rock on, RSL. Keep doing us proud.

  27. Bryan says:

    Doesn’t RSL only have 1 loss in CCL (the epic rain match at Cruz Azul)?

  28. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Best crowd or best team?

    Big difference between the two and RSL isnt one of them

  29. Matt says:

    Word, thanks.

  30. Matt says:

    They aren’t the best team?

  31. Hood Rich says:

    If RSL can stop/contain Chupete Suazo, then they have a chance of winning CCL. Monterrey is definitely the best team in CCL, followed by RSL.

    Remember the Monterrey – Seattle game where Seattle were leading by 2 goals with 20mins left. Chupete came in and suddenly Monterrey was a different team with him single handedly winning the game.

  32. Charles says:

    Umm, yeah it DOES actually.

    Why wouldn’t it again ?

  33. Charles the Sounder's fan says:

    Come on Hood Rich,

    I am trying to enjoy my lunch here.

    Why don’t you bring up last night too ?

  34. Dudeinho says:

    good job RSL

    now dont blow it and go lose 3-0 on the road. or what ever wacky last minute score MLS teams tend to allow in pivotal games.

    the cruz Azul game should have been enough to learn not to fall asleep and take the game to teams.

  35. USAHammerFan says:

    Also, they hosted two rugby matches there last weekend so there were some brown patches due to scrums being in a couple areas more than others.

  36. Clark says:

    You guys are clowns, talking up Monterrey who has struggled this year in the Clausura. Humberto Suazo has scored a grand total of one goal in this competition. Using a crap Seattle team as an example of Monterrey’s prowess should come off as pretty offensive to Monterrey.

    Sorry, RSL should be concerned with Orozco, he’s far more impressive lately. Cruz Azul are in much better form, we can beat them in Salt Lake, the question is when we go down south, things get whacky, like the first Cruz Azul game where Will Johnson scored a clean goal and the El Salvadorian refs called him off. Totally depends on the refereeing crew, if we can get a Canadian ref down in Costa Rica and in Mexico, we stand a chance. That ref last night was very biased.

  37. el guanaco says:

    nice win last night! i like our chances next leg.

    the ref last night wasn’t that bad. blew it big time on the 1st goal and called a foul in the box every time we had a corner but at least he dished out the yellows.

    looks like blanco and mena are out w/ yellow card accum. saprissa were so chippy…20 fouls and 5 cards! they played that way against olimpia too.

    alvarez hurt his foot last night…x-rays today. he looked okay last night. let’s give him some time before we rush to judgement. he’s showed his class in the MLS before.

    schuler played great filled in for the beast. hopefully olave is okay. his absence in mexico city was the difference (along w/ some questionable coaching decisions).

  38. Torres says:

    They go 4 deep at striker when teams like Seattle and LA cant even put one good one out there. Salt Lake shows why they are the team to beat in the West.

  39. EJ says:

    You know a small, easy thing that MLS could do to improve the prestige of the Supporters Shield (if Garber cared about that short of thing)? Give the play-off spot that currently goes to the MLS Cup runner-up and give it to the Shield’s runner-up. I bring this up because as a neutral party (Union fan, for the record) it pisses me off that RSL isn’t going to be in the Champion’s League next year.

  40. Matt says:

    If the supporter’s shield winner wins the mls cup, the playoff spot for CCL goes to the Supporter’s shield runner up. Or so i hear.

  41. CJ says:

    Anybody know what the attendance was?

  42. CleartheBall says:

    Just under 17k.

  43. CleartheBall says:

    US gets 4 bids. Supporters shield, US Open cup winner and both finalists in the MLS tournament. If someone holds 2 of these positions or if a Canadian team takes 1, shield runner up gets the spot. However, I also think shield 1and 2 should get it every year along with Open cup and MLS cup winners.

  44. Neruda says:

    Good post. People were throwing out names of Monterrey players that most MLS fans haven’t heard of as if they were reading from Barcelona’s roster.

    I’m not saying these Monterrey players aren’t good but beyond Suazo the names don’t mean much to someone who doesn’t follow the Clausura. It’s like saying “Watch out Mexican teams, RSL has Kyle Beckerman and Andy Williams.” Both fine players but not internationally known.

    RSL is coming into their own early on and they’ll do well in CCL and it spells doom for MLS foes. Starting with SJ Earthquakes on Saturday. Let’s go RSL!