Sandy • There was something vaguely familiar about Real Salt Lake on Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Buoyed by a dominating performance and a 2-0 victory in its second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League competition — this time against visiting Panamanian champions Tauro FC at Rio Tinto Stadium — the question afterward was whether RSL can continue its high level as it enters Major League Soccer play once again Friday at Philadelphia.
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Real, which snapped a four-game losing streak, rekindled memories of April and May when it jumped out to a 5-1 record, including victories against the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls.
"We looked like our old self where we really pinned the other team, where they can’t get out and we were creating chance after chance," said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, who scored the game’s second goal. "It just felt like if we get one maybe we can get three or four."
Not that it was all positive.
With about 20 minutes to play, Beckerman received a red card following a collision with Tauro midfielder Carlos Salazar. While the ejection has no bearing on MLS play, Beckerman will be ineligible for the CCL rematch with TFC on Sept. 18.
Beckerman claimed that he did not see Salazar, and believes the Panamanian exaggerated the contact.
"Standard CONCACAF," Beckerman said.
Playing a man down the final 20 minutes prevented RSL, in the opinion of RSL coach Jason Kreis, from giving a full 90-minute performance. Yet Kreis was mostly happy.
"I think we did right tonight by getting a result, 2-0, and that could be important, but it’s going to hurt to not have our captain for the next match," Kreis said. "I think we’ve got to take the confidence; we scored the goals. We were on top of things. It was a night where finally things went right for us.
"We have to continue with that confidence and say, ‘OK, we’re playing well, and we scored goals, and we won, and we had a shutout.’ So we need to take all those positive things and roll them into the game on Friday," Kreis added.
RSL outshot Tauro 16 to 3, with eight of those attempts on target. Only the nimble play of TFC keeper Alvaro Anzola kept the game even until RSL forward Alvaro Saborio cleaned up a rebound after a shot by teammate Paulo Jr. and scored in the 48th minute.
RSL’s mood afterward reflected the team’s performance.
"We are happy now," said Saborio, now with 15 goals this season. "We have to focus on Philadelphia and hopefully get a result there."
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