Real Salt Lake got the performance they were looking for to end a four-game losing streak.
In need of a bounce-back performance after a CONCACAF Champions League-opening loss to Herediano and after three straight losses in league play, RSL topped Panamanian side Tauro FC 2-0 behind second-half goals from Alvaro Saborio and Kyle Beckerman. With the win, RSL is tied with Herediano atop Group 2 with three points and on goal differential, though Herediano has only played the one match.
Both RSL goals — Saborio's close-range follow-up and Beckerman's low, left-footed blast from distance — were set up by Paulo Junior, who was a difference-maker in the second half after being given the start by Jason Kreis over Fabian Espindola. Kreis also had to shift his back line with an injury to Jamison Olave and suspension to Nat Borchers, opting for a centerback tandem of Chris Wingert and Kwame Watson-Siriboe. The defense did its job in front of Nick Rimando, while the RSL attack came alive after being stymied by Tauro in the first half.
It was not all good news for RSL, which lost Beckerman to a red card in the 72nd minute after a challenge on which he resorted to a high kick and exposed cleat moments after he had been kneed in the head on a separate play. He'll be forced to miss RSL's next CCL match, which is a rematch at Tauro on Sept. 18.
In other CCL results from Tuesday:
SANTOS LAGUNA 5, AGUILA 0
When teams need to boost their goal differential, they turn to Aguila.
The Salvadoran side was routed for the second time in as many group games, as Darwin Quintero's hat trick paved the way for an easy Santos Laguna win at Estadio Corona. Edgar Lugo and Daniel Luduena also scored for Santos, which led 4-0 by halftime. Herculez Gomez came off the bench as a 66th-minute substitute for the Mexican champions.
Aguila, which fell to Toronto FC 5-1 in their opener, is all but eliminated after two matches, while Group 1 figures to come down to the two TFC-Santos matchups, which will be rematches of last season's semifinals. They meet for the first time next Tuesday at BMO Field.
XELAJU 1, CHIVAS DE GUADALAJARA 0
On paper, Chivas de Guadalajara looked to be the favorite to capture Group 8, but through the first round of games, the Mexican side sits in last place.
Xelaju's Edgar Chinchilla scored the lone goal — giving him three in two CCL matches thus far — heading home a corner kick in the 68th minute to lift the Guatemalan side to three points and first place in the group.
Chivas trail Xelaju (four points) and Trinidadian side W Connection (one point) in the group.
What did you think of RSL's win? Do you think TFC can give Santos Laguna a battle for Group 1? Surprised at Chivas' struggles?
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