Real's opportunities were strong in first half
Sandy • When Real Salt Lake ponders the whys of exactly what went wrong Wednesday night, when it lost to Monterrey in the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, much of it will be about what didn't happen early in the first half.
The tale of the 1-0 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium was written in the official shot chart of the first 25 minutes, a litany of lost opportunities that would haunt a frustrated RSL.
"We weren't quite sharp enough," a hurting RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "We needed someone to make a special play and it didn't come off tonight."
It was left to Monterrey's Humberto Suazo to plunge in the final fork as he provided the game's only score in the waning moments of the opening half.
From the opening kick, an aggressive Real Salt Lake attacked from all angles, and it opened up a few real early chances. Fabian Espindola was especially effective.
Yet he and the rest of his attacking teammates, as they would be for the entire match with Monterrey, were just off the money.
Espindola fired off three shots within the first 10 minutes, including one from inside the 18-yard box that he couldn't curl around goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.
"We missed in the beginning of the game, but the last five minutes we had chances," RSL midfielder Javier Morales said. "We didn't play good tonight."
Salt Lake's final shot of the first half, an effort by Andy Williams, came in the 32nd minute.
Slowly, inexorably, Los Rayados gained control. RSL ran out of chances and out of gas. From the 33rd minute on, Monterrey picked up the pace with five good chances.
The final, Suazo's goal, was a typical striker's effort, cleaning up the rebound amid the jumble inside the box. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, prone on the ground, had stopped Sergio Santana's effort, but could do nothing but watch helplessly as the ball and a possible FIFA Club World Cup berth skipped by and into the net.
• Real Salt Lake's Fabian Espindola misses three shots in the opening 10 minutes.
• RSL doubles Monterrey's shot attempts, 16 to eight.
• Monterrey takes one shot on goal the entire game and scores.