SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake's CONCACAF Champions League aspirations got a little bit of help on Tuesday night when group-leading Herediano of Costa Rica beat Panamanian squad Tauro FC 2-1.
Herediano have the full nine points through three games, including a 1-0 win over RSL on July 31 in Costa Rica and two one-goal margin wins over Tauro. Real have six points, with a 2-0 and 1-0 win over Tauro. With tie-breaking scenarios, the Tuesday result means RSL advance with any two-goal win over Herediano or a 1-0 win when the two teams face off on Oct. 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"[It] wasn't the perfect result, but it was a good one," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said of Herediano’s victory at Wednesday’s training. "There were three good results for us, two would have been perfect and the third was what it was, that they only beat Tauro by a goal. It does open the possibility for us to win 1-0 and advance, which we like – more options are always good."
Obviously, the perfect results would have been a Tauro win or a draw, but Kreis is right, with the possibility of a 1-0 win being enough – something the club has done five times this season – the possibility of advancing certainly increased.
"It was kind of a good result for us – just the fact that Herediano didn't get any more goals and Tauro was able to score on the road gives us a leg up in the tiebreaker," said RSL defender Nat Borchers.
The other tiebreaker that could come in to play is away goals in games between the two teams tied, so if RSL claim a one-goal victory but give up a goal in the process, Herediano move on.
"I think we will have to go forward," said Borchers. "There will be times in that game where we are going to push for that goal. We are going to push hard in the first 15 [minutes]. We are definitely going to have to push hard at the end of the game if we don't have that goal.
“We will have to open up ourselves to counterattack, which is just part of the game. At the end of the day we just have to go for it and manage the game if we get that first goal."
Of course, there is another solution as well.
"I'd like it to be 3-0, make it real easy," joked Kreis.