Donning the captain's armband, Nick Besler pounced on a loose ball in the box with three minutes remaining as Real Salt Lake advanced to the Pacific Rim Cup championship match, defeating Japan's Iwaki FC 2-1 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.
RSL center back Justen Glad will be grateful for Besler's goal after his error led to a momentary 74th minute equalizer by Iwaki FC. At the edge of his own penalty area, Glad attempted to touch the ball back to his goalkeeper, but pressing Iwaki forwards won possession and Masahide Hiraoka was the beneficiary, tapping into an empty net.
A magical solo effort by Sebastian "Bofo" Saucedo opened the scoring in the first half. The 22-year-old RSL Homegrown player flashed his dribbling skills to dance by an Iwaki defender and the goalkeeper before poking the ball home.
Goalfo Saucedo pic.twitter.com/qAgknAge3w— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) February 9, 2019
Real Salt Lake, who will face Japanese 2nd-division side V-Varen Nagasaki in the Pacific Rim Cup championship match on Sunday, featured several Real Monarchs players in the second half, including Maikel Chang, whose shot on goal led to Besler's game-winner.
Iwaki FC, a club seeking to climb the ranks from the sixth tier of Japanese soccer in the Fukushima Prefectural League, will play in the 3rd-place match on Sunday, facing another MLS side in Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“You want to win in your first game” pic.twitter.com/DVG34YwvnC— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) February 9, 2019
- RSL - Sebastian Saucedo (Joao Plata) 24' (WATCH)
- IWA - Masahide Hiraoka 74'
- RSL - Nick Besler 87' (WATCH)
Real Salt Lake lineup (1st min / 4-2-3-1): #51 Andrew Putna -- #2 Tony Beltran, #15 Justen Glad, #30 Marcelo Silva, #4 Donny Toia -- #25 Everton Luiz, #6 Pablo Ruiz -- #23 Sebastian "Bofo" Saucedo, #8 Damir Kreilach, #10 Joao Plata -- #21 Tate Schmitt (#70 Kyle Coffee 57')
Real Salt Lake lineup (60th min / 4-2-3-1): #51 Andrew Putna -- #3 Adam Henley, #15 Justen Glad (#20 Erik Holt 75'), #52 Kalen Ryden, #45 Andrew Brody -- #43 Justin Portillo, #6 Pablo Ruiz (#13 Nick Besler 75') -- #44 Maikel Chang, #26 Luis Arriaga, #27 Julian Vazquez -- #70 Kyle Coffee