Real Salt Lake 0 - Columbus Crew 0 1st leg official recap and quotes

Real Salt Lake's Champions League Quarterfinal 1st leg ended in a 0-0 draw with Columbus, here is the official recap:

REAL SALT LAKE OPENS CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS WITH 0-0 DRAW AT COLUMBUS

Leg One Goes without a Goal, Three Second Half Red Cards Stymie Play in Frigid Conditions;

Aggregate Goals Series Format Means Winner Takes All in Next Tuesday's Second Leg in Sandy 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Tuesday, February 22, 2011) - 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 seriesat 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.

more after the jump:

Real Salt Lake Match Notes

  • All eyes around Major League Soccer will now turn to the Wasatch Front and Rio Tinto Stadium, which will host the second and decisive leg of the series next Tuesday, March 1. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. MT, when Real Salt Lake will attempt to stretch its undefeated streak across all competitions in Sandy to 34 games. One of the teams will become the first Major League Soccer side to qualify for the Semifinal Round of the regional club championship since the Champions League format took hold three seasons ago.
  • Tickets for the historic contest in Sandy next Tuesday are still available and can be purchased online at www.RealSaltLake.com, over the phone at 801-727-2700, or in person at the Rio Tinto Stadium Box Office, Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. MT.
  • While Beltran and Borchers will be exempt from selection, Kreis will once again have the services of midfielders Jean Alexandre and Collen Warner. The duo was suspended for tonight's contest in Columbus after picking up their second cautions of the Group Stage in RSL's 3-1 Group A finale victory over Cruz Azul last Oct. 19 in Sandy.
  • Real Salt Lake and Columbus are playing for a spot in the Semifinal Round of the CONCACAF Champions League against one of two Central American foes, Costa Rican powerhouse CD Saprissa and Honduran stalwart CD Olimpia. Their series kicks off this Thursday when Saprissa plays host in San Jose, Costa Rica, followed by the second leg a week later on March 3 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Both games kick off at 6:00 p.m. MT and will be televised live on Galavision. 

22.02.2011: Columbus, Ohio, UNITED STATES; Columbus Crew Stadium

COLUMBUS CREW (USA) 0 : 0 REAL SALT LAKE (USA) (0:0)

Goals by Period                    1          2          F

Columbus Crew                      0          0          0         

Real Salt Lake                        0          0          0                     

Scoring Summary

None

Real Salt Lake: GK-Nick RIMANDO; DF-Tony BELTRAN, DF-Jamison OLAVE, DF-Nat BORCHERS, DF-Chris WINGERT; MF-Kyle BECKERMAN (Captain), MF-Ned GRABAVOY (Andy WILLIAMS 75), MF-Will JOHNSON, MF-Javier MORALES; FW-Álvaro SABORÍO, FW-Fabian ESPÍNDOLA (Robbie RUSSELL 59)

TD: Jason KREIS

Did Not Play: Kyle REYNISH (GK), Arturo ALVAREZ, Nelson GONZÁLEZ, Rauwshan MCKENZIE, PAULO JR.

Columbus Crew: GK-Ray BURSE JR.; DF-Andy IRO, DF-Rich BALCHAN, DF-Sebastian MIRANDA; MF-Robbie ROGERS, MF-Emmanuel EKPO, MF-Eddie GAVEN (Leandre GRIFFIT 63), MF-Cole GROSSMAN, MF-Josh GARDNER (Jeff CUNNINGHAM 75); FW-Emilio RENTERIA, FW-Andres MENDOZA (Justin MERAM 82)

TD: Robert WARZYCHA

Did Not Play: Will HESMER (GK), Tom HEINEMANN, Kwaku NYAMEKYE, Josh WILLIAMS 

Discipline Summary

RSL- Tony BELTRAN (caution) 42

CLB- Sebastian MIRANDA (caution)  49

RSL- Tony BELTRAN (caution) 53

RSL- Tony BELTRAN (ejection; 2nd caution) 53

RSL- Kyle BECKERMAN (caution) 54

CLB- Emilio RENTERIA (ejection) 72

RSL- Nat BORCHERS (ejection) 72

Referee: Jair MARRUFO

Assistant Referees: C.J. MORGANTE, Eric BORIA

Fourth Official: Ricardo SALAZAR

Time of Game: 1:50

Weather: Cloudy, 26 degrees

Attendance: 4,300

Here are the post match comments from the RSL locker room:

REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS

On the result ...

"Obviously we're pleased with the result, as we were down a man for about 30 minutes and we walk away with a shutout at halftime of what's a two-game series."

On tonight's conditions ...

"Tonight it was more of a battle than it was a soccer game, and both teams played in the same weather and on the same field. They were difficult circumstances to play a soccer match in. The field being as frozen as it was, it obviously affected possession and the way the match was played. And of course when you start taking players off the field - with three of them going off - that's going to affect what the match looks like as well."

On losing defenders Nat Borchers and Tony Beltran heading into Leg Two next Tuesday ...

"Nat in particular is an extremely important player for us, as everybody knows. He's a very vocal organizer in the back, and Tony has played a lot of very important minutes for us as well. Now our depth will be tested a little bit as Columbus' is right now, so it should be interesting."

REAL SALT LAKE GOALKEEPER NICK RIMANDO

On keeping his head in the match in freezing conditions ...

"It wasn't too difficult staying focused. In the back you've got to keep everything organized, and I think that's why we got the clean sheet tonight. We were very organized, even when circumstances came in like the red cards. The players that came in did their jobs and we got the zero."

On matching up against the new-look Crew ...

"It doesn't matter who's on the field, on any given day any team can beat anybody, and we made sure we knew that heading onto the field today. In the first 10 minutes they came at us and had possession and played pretty well, and we were on our heels. But I think a zero is fine, and I know Jason [Kreis] is happy with that. It's just halftime of a game that we're pretty confident in since we get to take it back to Rio Tinto Stadium."

On the loss of two key defenders heading into next Tuesday's second leg in Sandy ...

"We always talk about depth in our team, and this is going to be one of those games where it's important to have players step it up. Obviously Nat [Borchers] is a huge leader for us and we depend on him a lot in the back, so this week we're going to have guys like Robbie [Russell] come in and give us some good stuff."

REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER NAT BORCHERS

On his altercation with Crew FW Emilio Renteria that resulted in their ejections ...

"We were just battling for position; [Renteria] took a swing at me with his elbow and connected, and we screamed at {referee} Jair [Marrufo] and the linesman to see it, and they didn't. Then [Renteria] tried to run through and I put my knee out and he basically tripped over it and made a meal out of it. If what I did was petty theft, what he did was a first-degree felony.

"I'm happy the boys fought hard and pulled it out. This was a great result for us, and now we've got a huge, huge game coming up next Tuesday at home."

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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