Real Salt Lake played a great game for the first hour of the match against Tigres UANL on Wednesday. A favorable result was in their grasp, but they let it slip away in the final 30 minutes.
RSL traveled down to Monterrey for the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal round match-up against Tigres and dropped a 2-0 result to the defending champions of Liga MX. RSL had their fair share of chances but looked sloppy in the final third, missing a handful of golden opportunities before conceding two second half goals.
Despite playing in their first competitive match of the season, it was RSL that initially looked like the livelier side against Tigres. They played disciplined soccer for the better part of an hour and created a number of chances early on, but it appeared fatigue played its part over the final third of the game, and the hosts came roaring back, courtesy of goals from Jose Rivas in the 67th minute and young Mexican national team player Jurgen Damm in the 86th minute.
RSL had plenty of chances to nab a goal, with recently-signed Yura Movsisyan getting on the end of a number of dangerous balls, but he was unable to put one past Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman.
And Nick Rimando continued to burnish his reputation as a penalty-stopping master with a save of French international Andre-Pierre Gignac's attempt just before halftime.
But the thing about two-legged series is that it's not truly over until both legs have been played, something RSL appeared to take to heart following the loss.
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman spoke after the match on the local TV broadcast and expressed disappointment in the result, but said that he has hope that the team can still turn the series around back in Utah.
"A little disappointing because we had some chances to really take the lead," Beckerman said. "It's only halftime, so hopefully we can go back home and do better. This team is really good. We know it's going to be very hard. We believe we have a chance, so we're going to go play the game back home and see what happens."
RSL will now head back to Sandy, Utah and prepare to face Tigres in a week’s time.