Real Salt Lake captured another piece of Major League Soccer history Tuesday night in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 15,405 at Rio Tinto Stadium via a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Crew in the second and decisive leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal Series. The 4-1 result, which gave RSL the aggregate series win by the same margin, allowed the Utah side to become the first MLS squad to advance to the Semifinal Round of the regional club championship.
The scoreless draw in the opening leg last Tuesday was put well in the rear-view mirror in the early stages tonight, as both teams came out looking for the goal – or goals – that would secure advancement into the tournament’s “Final Four.” However, only Real Salt Lake would be rewarded for its attacking efforts in the opening half, as FW Álvaro Saborío’s opening salvo in the 23rd minute capped off a wonderful build-up through the middle of the field, as did MF Javier Morales’ first of the evening 13 minutes later, allowing RSL a 2-0 cushion – and just a bit of breathing room – at the half.
That two-goal advantage was short-lived out of the locker room, as Crew striker Andres Mendoza finished off some nice interplay for the visitors around the area just four minutes into the second stanza, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats for most of the half. It would be Morales once again taking the advantage to two goals in the 77th minute, as his finish off a FW Paulo Jr. dish would allow the home side to breathe a little easier. If the Argentine’s second of the night was the nail in the coffin, then Andy Williams’ free kick in the dying moments was the cherry on top, the curling, 22-yard bomb giving the midfielder a deserved goal to go along with his pair of assists on the evening.