Despite spending long stretches of the 90 minutes looking like a capable opponent for Liga MX standouts Tigres, Real Salt Lake lost 2-0 in the first leg of a tricky CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie.
As the third minute ticket over, the clinical Gignac took an uncharacteristically poor shot with only Nick Rimando to contend with. Aaron Maund had just attempted to clear the ball upfield, only to have his pass bounce off a close defender; the ball fell right to the Frenchman, who made a real hash of the shot.
In the fifth minute, Movsisyan, dribbling upfield, was fouled only just outside the box; Javier Morales took the ensuing free kick, which Tigres' goalkeeper could only parry away for a corner kick.
That kicked off a period of real chance-making for RSL, and although no clear-cut chances came from the run, Salt Lake looked not so much a minnows as a rival here.
In the 14th minute, Jamison Olave picked up a yellow card for catching Tigres attacker Rafael Sobis, who had beat the defense on a long pass. Olave missed the player with the initial tackle, but smartly caught him with his trailing leg to prevent a clear breakaway leading into the 18-yard box.
In the 23rd minute, Javier Morales played a perfect cutting ball to an onrushing Tony Beltran, who squared the ball in the box to Movsisyan, but his pass was just behind the forward, and he wasn't able to get a shot off. A rebound smacked Burrito Martinez in the head, and he nearly put that
In the 30th minute, Gignac put an incredible opportunity inches fizzing just wide of the far post, unable to finish the chance handed to him when RSL defenders were unable to get a head on a looping cross, which landed softly at the feet of the Frenchman.
In the 41st minute, Yura Movsisyan sent a shot well high after being unleashed by a very, very good Joao Plata run and pass — but his finishing let him down. The goalkeeper had come out and had a good angle, but certainly, an on-frame shot would have been preferable.
In the 45th minute, Real Salt Lake were hard done by when the referee whistled for a penalty, just before stoppage time was called. Kyle Beckerman's arm was away from his body when a tame header bounced off it, prompting the call — but Beckerman lacked any evidence of deliberation in that moment. Gignac's run-up to the penalty spot was an easy one for Nick Rimando to read, and he saved a goal without too much trouble.
Just after the match kicked off again, Tigres won a corner after Gignac made a strong run into the box — and while his diving header went just past the far post, Jamison Olave appeared to collide with Aaron Maund as they went up to defend the striker. He was able to continue.
Yura Movsisyan traded opportunities with his opponent, taking a run down the left channel into the box and nearly beating Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel, who tipped away his far post shot for a corner.
The pace of the match continued at that clip, with RSL looking strong as the second half wore on. Kyle Beckerman nearly beat out Nahuel with a shot from distance, but he was able to tip the ball over the bar and out for a corner.
Tigres took the lead, though, in the 67th minute when Rivas nodded home a Sobis free kick. The free kick came maybe 30 yards out after Sunny overcommitted on a tackle. That came after a short period of dominance by Tigres, who had struggled on both sides of the halftime whistle.
In the 72nd minute, Yura Movsisyan — who seemed to be lagging a bit — was replaced by Olmes Garcia. In the 81st minute, Jordan Allen entered the match for Sunny as RSL coach Jeff Cassar attempted to breathe life into a Salt Lake side that was starting to show signs of cracking.
In the 86th minute, those cracks widened as Real Salt Lake conceded from a corner, with the defense caught out — particularly Jamison Olave. One save from Kyle Beckerman on the line wasn't enough to prevent Jurgen Damm from putting Tigres up 2-0.
In the 90th minute, Joao Plata had a golden opportunity — but after dribbling past the opposition defense and going one-on-one with the goalkeeper, he attempted to continue dribbling around players and lost the ball tamely.