Real Salt Lake took control in the second half of their CONCACAF Champions League match vs. Toronto FC.
Toronto came out of the gate much brighter than Salt Lake, and it paid dividends for them nearly immediately. In the 8th minute, under pressure from O’Brian White and Santos, Nat Borchers misplayed a backpass to Nick Rimando, leaving the ball motionless at the top of the penalty area. With the two TFC forwards alone against Rimando, White took the ball and drew Rimando off his line before slotting a pass across the six-yard box where Santos tapped it into the open net to give the visitors the early 1-0 lead.
White nearly doubled the advantage just a few minutes later as he slid onto a pass across the goalmouth from Santos, but he poked it just wide.
But with the visitors buzzing, in the 21st minute Real struck back against the run of play. Pressure by Robbie Findley earned RSL a corner on the left side that was taken by Williams. Williams swung a corner in close to goal where Beckerman out jumped the defense and put it on frame. Julian de Guzman tried to clear it off the line with his head, but he could only knock it into the top of the goal, and just like that Salt Lake had leveled the match 1-1.
The next 20 minutes were played fairly even until the 40th minute when Real took the lead off another set piece. After a foul on the right side of the box, Williams whipped the restart into the box where RSL inexplicably had at least four players at the far post completely unmarked. The lucky recipient was Olave who easily headed the ball low to the post to give RSL the 2-1 lead going into the break.
Toronto came out of the locker room keen to equalize, and they nearly did so in the 51st minute as Dwayne De Rosario was dangerous on the attack for the first time in the match. A slow pass from the right wing somehow found its way across the top of the box to De Rosario, who had a clean look but couldn’t beat Rimando’s diving save.
Real were quick to answer back with a near-goal of their own thanks to Saborio in the 56th minute. Displaying some clever footwork to get himself free on the right side of the box, he drove a low, hard shot toward the near post. But Stefan Frei did well to deny Saborio his sixth career CONCACAF Champion’s League goal. Then in the 60th minute, Findley missed a golden opportunity when he had 1-on-1 with Frei, but he shot into Frei’s legs.
Toronto’s chances of leveling the match got a whole lot more difficult when Mista was red-carded for hitting Beckerman in the face in the 66th minute. He only lasted six minutes after coming on as a sub.
RSL effectively put the match out of reach just three minutes later when Will Johnson was taken down in the penalty area while running onto a pass. Saborio stepped up and confidently buried the penalty kick to Frei’s right to give Salt Lake a nearly-insurmountable 3-1 lead.
But Real kept pouring it on, and in the 80th minute newcomer Paulo Araujo Jr. made history by scoring his first goal just six minutes into his RSL career. Findley did the hard work to win the ball on the left wing, then sent a pass clear across the goal where Paulo did well to punch it home, sealing the offensive onslaught for RSL.
Both teams now head south of the border as they continue CONCACAF Champions League play. Toronto will pay a visit to Mexico City to take on Cruz Azul next week, while Real have an even longer journey to Panama where they will face Arabe Unido. Meanwhile, both teams have an MLS contest between now and then: Salt Lake host the Chicago Fire while TFC remain on the road at Houston this Saturday.
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