Following their 4-1 second-leg victory over the Columbus Crew, which secured Real Salt Lake a berth in the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Champions League, forward Alvaro Saborio told MLSsoccer.com that, as a Costa Rican, he wanted Saprissa to also advance to the semis.
“I have spoken with Saborío and he tells us that Saprissa are not going through a good moment right now,” defender Jamison Olave said on FutbolMLS.com podcast Tiro Libre.
Saborío & Co. got their wish after Saprissa’s 2-1 second leg win over Hondurans Olimpia and a 3-1 aggregate score line.
El Monstruo Morado, or "The Purple Monster," as they are known, happen to be Saborío’s former club. The RSL striker took his former club to the final of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup – the precursor to the Champions League – in 2004 and 2005, with Saprissa winning it all in '05.
But that’s not the only Real Salt Lake connection with the Costa Rican club. Former RSL holding midfielder Douglas Sequeira is currently a member of the San José-based squad. The native Costa Rican was originally acquired by RSL back in 2005 and later traded to Chivas USA before rejoining RSL a year later.
The two clubs share another similarity: home-field dominance. RSL have now extended their home unbeaten streak at Rio Tinto Stadium to 34 matches. Saprissa are well known for their home-field advantage at the “Monster’s Cave,” where their strong crowd presence and an artificial turf surface helps to give them an edge over visiting foes.
Saprissa will first venture to Rio Tinto Stadium on March 15 for the first leg of the semifinal match. This will be the second visit to the area by the Costa Rican club, who beat RSL by a 2-1 margin an exhibition match in 2008.
The return leg will take place in San José, Costa Rica, on April 5.