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Real Salt Lake eliminated from CONCACAF Champions League

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The task was clear for Real Salt Lake. Beat Herediano, either 1-0 or by more than one goal, and they would have their place in the CONCACAF Champions League.

That task seemed well within reach, particularly with Tuesday night’s group stage showdown taking place at Rio Tinto Stadium, but much like they did in the 2010 CONCACAF Champions League Final, Real Salt Lake couldn’t find the goal they needed to capture that special moment of glory.

Herediano played the role of spoiler on Tuesday night, keeping RSL off the scoreboard in a scoreless draw  that booked the Costa Rican club’s place in the quarterfinals and eliminated the home team.

“Yeah, we went for it,” said RSL midfielder Will Johnson. “We put in a lot of effort and created some good chances. We couldn’t quite find that final pass. There was a little lack of quality in the final third and it really hurt us tonight.”

RSL went into the match short-handed, with Alvaro Saborio suspended and Jamison Olave injured. Saborio’s absence was felt the most, with RSL controlling possession for stretches, but not turning that possession into truly dangerous chances.

“It’s always a little frustrating when you have so many clear chances and you don’t take them, but I think that our guys put all the right effort into it,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “Herediano made it very, very difficult in the second half; literally, putting 11 players, almost in their penalty box and it will always be tough to score on a team that plays like that.

“I was expecting Herediano to come out and play a little more soccer than they did tonight and not muddle up the game like they did.”

RSL won’t have much to dwell on the loss. They have the MLS playoffs looming, and will face a tough challenge from the Seattle Sounders.

“If we let this get the best of us and feel bad about this game, it’s not going to be good going into the playoffs,” said RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. “But I doubt we’re going to do that.”


  1. RSL is their own worst enemy. Clearly all of the young and new guys in the mid and forward positions can’t hack it and don’t have the drive to play at even this level. Trade em out. Steele, Jr, Alvarez, Velasquez, Gil, Braun, Bonfigli all need to go. There are 5 others that have been with the team long enough and still haven’t contributed. Get rid of them as well. Half of them can’t even play 90 minutes due to fitness. Can’t believe Kreis has left them get out of shape like that. Kick their butts. Can we bring Frazier back since he has failed at Chivas and get him to do the recruiting for us again? We need another Morales and Espindola.

    • I don’t think RSL needs another Espindola. He is a 2nd string forward. We need another Mos or Findley; they’ve never been replaced. As to Steele, yeah he should go. Paulo is a 2nd string Espindola, get rid of him. Alverez is a 2nd string Beckerman, I don’t know why he’s mentioned. Gil is 18 and we don’t pay for him.
      As for Velasquez, he’s also very young and promising. The problem with him, Braun, and Bongfili is they have 0 playing time and then get thrust into big game situations with no experience. In 2010, Kreis fielded a 2nd string team on multiple games, who proved themselves apt. This year he has not done it at all. He has ran the 1st string ragged and never shown faith in the 2nd. This is why he plays Paulo over Braun or Bongfili, who at least have some height and can head a cross.
      RSL promised restructuring following this season with a CCL loss and I hope they do follow through. But I’m looking at a lot of the 1st string and at Checket’s pocketbook. We need to get some real threats on the team, not offload all of our youth.

      • Well said. I feel for the most part that when RSL’s starting XI is playing well they can beat anybody in the league and they’ve proven that. It’s when you move down the bench that we run into trouble. We’ve lost key subs over the last few years that could step up and play 1st team minutes without a huge drop in quality. That’s not the case anymore and as our core ages they’re only going to be more injury prone.

        Keep the young kids and actually play them. It may cost us a game here and there but it will pay off in the long run.

      • I feel the reason Jason isn’t playing them is that he isn’t seeing what he needs to see at practice. He has said as much on the radio. They are out of shape. They sucked last night. And couldn’t be relied upon. If you don’t step up you pack your bags. The usually starting 11 is OK. But the subs other than Schuler need work.
        If you can’t rely on them, why keep them? Maybe pick one or two that show potential and dump the rest.
        Obviously, I am not the coach. And I do have faith in Jason most of the time.
        I still think we can make a good push for the cup. Team has to put it together though. Go RSL.

  2. If Kreis can figure this bunkering thing out, he’d have my vote for the next US Team coach. I think he does everything else well already. Bunkering is what we see a lot of in qualifying in CONCACAF, and if he could teach his teams to solve it on a regular basis, I think he’d be the man to replace Klinsi down the road. Anyway, just my 2 cents, and probably over priced.

    • What’s the rush? Coaching is an old man’s game–it’s the one place in athletics where you get better as you get older. Give him another contract w/ RSL, then a stint at another club (ideally in a non-MLS league) to broaden his experience in working with different styles systems budgets etc., then give him a shot at a national side (U-20?)

      THIS IS NOT A DIG ON MLS, I just think the more a coach knows, the better. If his coaching CV were coaching at a single Euro or SA club I’d be saying the same thing.

  3. Jason Kreis has the best mad face…

    Sad for RSL. To have such consistent quality from year to year and yet have the hardware evade you… Must be frustrating. Still, the team puts out some of the best soccer in MLS weekinand week out, so that’s some consolation.

  4. While I was able to figure it out by reading the post, it’s always a good idea to include the score in an obvious way so that a quick skim can pick it up.

  5. I never understood coaches who complain about the other teams defensive tactics.
    What do they expect? “Yeah man, I TOTALLY expected this other team, who only needed a draw to advance, to come into our stadium and open up the game for us so it’d be easier for us to score a goal. What a bunch of losers!”
    Oh well. On the other hand, it’s still good to see MLS proving themselves incapable of winning in the CCL.

    • And by incapable of winning in CCL, he means totally capable. As in Houston getting through last night, Seattle and LA already through.

      People think before you post, you don’t want to look like James.

    • Seattle, LA and Houston not only advanced, they all won their respective groups. Have some faith in this humble league of ours, will ya?

      • Seattle, LA and Houston not only advanced, they all won their respective groups.

        True, but to advance from this stage, they have to win their respective group. As more of a general fan of MLS than any specific team, I’d have loved to see all 4 US teams advance (and they well could have (should have?)), but 3 out of 4 is still pretty good.

  6. What an awful game to watch. At what age do parents teach their children in Costa Rica to collapse to the ground in a heap w/out ever being touched?

    • its not about that…. EVERY team will play those time wasting games, especially if its an elilmination/playoff game. yes it does get extreme, at times, with the bad acting but EVERY team does it in one shape or form. our keeper got a yellow last night for time wasting, but it was “normal” time wasting -lol- as opposed to when the keeper hits the ground faking injury and the like. i guarantee you RSL has done this themselves in the past during an elimination game -to one extent or another.

    • True. Consider that we scored a total of 3 goals in the entire competition and fielded our 1st string team every time and it is beyond embarrassing.


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