It was anything but pretty, but the 0-0 draw Real Salt Lake scratched out against fellow MLS side Columbus Crew was certainly an effective outcome for the visitors from the opening leg of the two-match CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series at Columbus Crew Stadium. With temperatures in the 20’s at kickoff, the “beautiful game” was rarely on display in mid-Ohio, especially in the second half when red cards reduced Real Salt Lake to nine men and Columbus to 10 players by the final whistle.

After a largely uneventful 45 minutes during which neither side seriously challenged the others’ frame, things got interesting in the 53rd minute when Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran received his second yellow card for a challenge at midfield, putting the Claret-and-Cobalt a man down for more than a half hour to end the match. More space would open for both sides in the 72nd minute, when RSL defender Nat Borchers retaliated against Crew forward Emilio Renteria for an elbow thrown his way, the players receiving straight red cards from referee Jair Marrufo for not maintaining cooler heads on the frozen pitch, which was cleared of snow earlier in the day.

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