Nick Rimando’s penalty-kick heroics were once again on full display, but the goalkeeper’s talents on spot kicks weren’t enough to lead Real Salt Lake to a CONCACAF Champions League victory on Wednesday night.
Finishes from José Arturo Rivas and Jurgen Damm proved to be just enough for Liga MX side Tigres UANL, which topped RSL, 2-0, on Wednesday night at the Estadio Universitario in the first leg of their CCL quarterfinal clash.
The opening goal came via a set piece in the 67th minute. Following a foul, Tigres forward Rafael Sóbis delivered a lofted ball to the back post on the ensuing free kick. A rising Rivas was there to meet it, and the defender’s header was smashed into the ground and past Rimando for the game’s lone finish.
Damm’s backbreaker came 19 minutes later, as the pacey winger tapped in a rebound on another set piece to solidify a major RSL deficit heading into the second leg.
Just moments before the end of the first half, it appeared that Rimando had given RSL a major lifeline with yet another penalty-kick stop. Following a handball call in the box, Rimando stepped up to deny André-Pierre Gignac’s spot kick to keep the game scoreless heading into the break.
After the halftime whistle, Tigres continued to attack, forcing Rimando into a pair of saves. In total, the Mexican side fired 19 shots to RSL’s 12 on the evening.
RSL’s best attempts came through offseason re-addition Yura Movsisyan, who created several looks in the first half. With Movsisyan leading the charge, RSL forced Nahuel Guzmán into five saves on the evening, but the MLS club had to settle for a two-goal loss in Mexico.
Damm’s late goal could prove vital heading into the second leg, which is scheduled for March 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.