CCL Preview: RSL begin quest at Costa Rica's Herediano

Real Salt Lake vs. CS Herediano
ESTADIO NACIONAL DE COSTA RICA, San José, Costa Rica
CONCACAF Champions League, Group 2
July 31, 2012

10 pm ET, FOX Soccer

RSL Injury Report:

  • OUT: D Chris Schuler (bone bruise), GK Lalo Fernandez (wrist fracture)
  • PROBABLE: Jamison Olave (hamstring strain)

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CCL RULES OF COMPETITION:
  • With so little margin for error under the new four-game CCL group format, it is important to remember the following:
  • 1) Goals reign supreme: in order to encourage attacking, open play, CCL Quarterfinal seedings for the 8 group winners is based on goal +/- in group play; total goals scored the next tiebreaker ... Should two teams finish tied atop a group, head-to-head points is primary tiebreaker, then goal differential.
  • 2) Yellow Card Peril: players will be forced to serve a one-game suspension in group play every two yellow cards; individual players see their slates wiped clean at the Quarterfinal and Final stages.
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE KICKOFF:
  • Real Salt Lake embark on their second-ever foray in the CONCACAF region’s annual tourney to determine its continental champion and award a berth to the annual FIFA Club World Cup, seeking to advance one step further than the team’s 3-2 aggregate goal loss in the 2010/11 Finals to Mexican power Monterrey, who also won the 2011/12 tourney.
  • RSL flew Sunday to San Jose, Costa Rica via charter just 36 hours after posting a 2-1 win in Major League Soccer play over visiting Vancouver, and trained Monday at the new National Stadium in Costa Rica, where they will face CS Herediano for the first time.
  • Sunday’s match is the first of four group matches for RSL in the next 81 days, to be played concurrently with their MLS slate.

WATCH: RSL discuss CCL expectations

GETTING TO KNOW CS HEREDIANO:

  • Full Name: Club Sport Herediano
  • Founded: June 12, 1921
  • Manager: Jacques Odir
  • League: Primera Division de Costa Rica
  • Honors: League titles - 22 (1921, 1922, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1961, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1992-93, 2012)
  • Official Website: http://www.herediano.com/
  • Current roster: http://www.herediano.com/plantel
  • CONCACAF Team Profile: http://www.concacafchampions.com/page/CL/TeamProfileDetail/0,,12856~1021...
  • Nicknames: El Equipo Florense, Los Gloriosos Florenses, Rojos y Amarillos
  • Player to watch: FW  Victor Nuñez:  The 32-year-old forward – and teammate of RSL’s Álvaro Saborío on Costa Rica’s 2006 World Cup squad – led Herediano with 18 total goals in the 2011 Invierno and 2012 Verano campaigns
  • Nuñez has scored five goals in 17 appearances for the Ticos 
  • Stadium: Home Stadium: Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero. CCL Stadium: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica
  • Herediano normally play their home league matches at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero, a 15,000 seat venue with a turf field located about 10 kilometers north of the Costa Rican capital of San Jose
  • However, Herediano will host its CONCACAF Champions League games at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, a one-year-old, 35,000 seat stadium with a grass field that serves as the permanent home for the country’s national team
  • RSL’s Costa Rican international Álvaro Saborío is very familiar with the Estadio Nacional, having scored the first goal in stadium history during its inaugural match in March, 2011

RSL BACK IN CONCACAF, THANKS TO LA/SEA:

  • With Los Angeles’ 2011 MLS Western Conference Semifinal win over NY, RSL Nation was disappointed to not be able to host the West Final.
  • However, the Los Angeles victory did benefit RSL by allowing Jason Kreis’ club to secure passage to the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League tourney, by virtue of the Galaxy’s “duplicate” spots between the 2011 Supporters’ Shield berth and its trip - and eventual win - in MLS Cup.
  • This Fall’s CCL tourney will be played under a new format, as all 24 teams engage directly in group play, with only the 8 winners who emerge from a 3-team, 4-game group stage advancing to the Championship round.
  • LA, SEA and RSL are joined by Houston, who qualified as a 2011 MLS Cup participant.
  • Toronto FC, as the Canadian champion, are the 5th MLS side to qualify.
SABORIO STEPPING UP WITH BIG MONTH:
  • Despite not being named among All-Stars of any kind, RSL forward Alvaro Saborio - the club’s first-ever DP - tallied six goals in five July games to move into 3rd overall in the MLS Golden Boot race.
  • Against Vancouver, “Sabo” scored both goals, converting a 1st-half PK and providing the game-winning header in the 58’, rising high to snap down a cross from Javier Morales.
  • Saborio opened the month by scoring 3 goals in 15 minutes against Portland on July 7 to snap the club’s 4-game home winless streak in all competitions, dating back to the May 29 US Open Cup loss to Minnesota of the NASL.
  • On July 21 against Colorado, Sabo had 1 goal & 1 assist.
  • Sabo’s heroics give the Costa Rican international his club-high 37 goals in 73 MLS games, including 14 game-winning goals to go along with 9 multi-goal games.
  • In all competitions, Sabo has 47 goals in 83 games, with 12 multigoal matches.
  • RSL are now 27-4-5 all-time when Sabo scores, the third-year MLS player joining Kreis (2005 Open Cup) and Robbie Findley (2009 MLS) as the lone “hat trick heroes” in RSL’s eight-year, 278-game history across all competitions.
ALL-TIME CCL HISTORY

WATCH: CCL 360 - The 2011 Finals

  • Under the coaching tenure of RSL manager Jason Kreis, the team has posted an all-time 6-3-3 mark in its CCL history, including a 4-1-1 mark in group play in the 2010/11 tourney against Cruz Azul (MEX), Toronto FC (CAN) and Arabe Unido (PAN).
  • Overall, RSL have outscored their CONCACAF opponents 26-17, with a 17-11 advantage during the group stage.
  • RSL won their first five home games in its 2010/11 CCL foray, prior to dropping the Final, 0-1, to Monterrey (MEX).
  • On the road in CCL play, RSL posted a 1-2-3 mark overall away from home (1-1-1 in group play, with an 8-8 goal differential), the semifinal loss at Saprissa (CRC) still good enough to clinch advancement from the two-leg series.
MLS IN REGIONAL COMPETITION
  • RSL’s 1-1-0 mark against Costa Rican opposition is included in Major League Soccer’s overall 9-15-8 mark against “Tico” club teams, with a 27-40 goal differential for the North American sides.
  • RSL’s 3-1-0 mark and 9-6 goal differential against Central American sides is also included in the league’s overall 48-29-22 tally against CONCACAF teams outside of Mexico and the Caribbean, with the MLS squads holding a 134-113 goal advantage.