Real Salt Lake is eliminated from the CONCACAF Tournament after they tied Herediano 0-0 at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
In order to advance to the quarterfinals, RSL needed to either win 1-0 or beat Herediano by multiple goals. Since Herediano had the advantage, they played a very difficult defense to keep the game at 0-0.
RSL Coach Jason Kreis expressed his frustration with this style of playing.
“Our guys put all the right effort into the game, but Herediano made it very difficult for us in the second half because they literally had 11 players almost in the penalty box,” Kreis said. “It’s always going to be difficult to score when you’re playing an opponent like that. I didn’t expect it. I expected Herediano to come out and play a little more soccer.”
Because of an accumulation of yellow cards, RSL’s lead scorer, Alvaro Saborio, had to watch the game from the sidelines.
“We know (Saborio) is an important player, and he always seems to be able to make that crucial play in the penalty box to make the difference,” Kreis said. “We typically have someone in the box who can finish for us and when we wanted (Fabian) Espindola and Paulo (Junior) to do a little more of that tonight, but that is just not their natural position.”
Unfortunately for RSL, Espindola and Paulo were not able to fill that empty void and get some goals for the team. It was especially difficult for Espindola after he took the ball past Herediano’s goalie and missed an open 15-yard shot.
“We tried and tried and tried but we couldn’t score,” Espindola said.
RSL started out very aggressive in the first half of the game with a very important strategy.
“The game plan was to go out there and get a goal,” Rimando said. “In the first half, I thought for sure we were going to get a one, but we were unlucky.”
Towards the end of the game, Herediano had their own strategy of running out the clock by faking injuries.
“Every Latin American team is going to stall,” Rimando said. “I think if we go down there we might do the same thing.”
Kreis explained part of the problem can be the referees.
“In some part, its up to the people that are officiating the game to change things a little bit,” Kreis said. “Tonight (the officiator) had the option and ability to extend the time because the number of times players go down and fake injuries. For me, it’s ugly and that’s not what the sport is about. Referees need to be smart enough to say ‘we’re going to add on time’. You make sure that teams understand that they will be punished for that.”
RSL has only a few days to rest as they take on Vancouver Whitecaps this Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Rio Tinto Stadium.