Real Salt Lake drew the Columbus Crew 0-0 in a wild, three-ejection match at Columbus Tuesday.
The freezing cold (25 F at kickoff) temperature clearly impacted play as neither side was able to get a major chance at the opposing goal. Opportunities were consistently squandered by poorly struck passes and shots that were not on frame.
Even without offense, the match displayed fireworks between the budding rivals.
Tony Beltran was sent off in the 53rd minute for a wild challenge that earned a second caution. Both bookings for Beltran were due to wild challenges.
In the 73rd minute, both the Crew’s Emilio Renteria and RSL’s Nat Borchers were sent off. As of this writing, nobody is sure why.
There was contact between the two players, though there was nothing in the broadcast that indicated a malicious play on either side. We will add an explanation if one is ever given.
After the 73rd minute, Real Salt Lake packed in the defense and was able to survive with a 0-0 draw.
The aggregate-goal series now returns to Salt Lake on Tuesday, March 1. The winner of that match will move on to the CONCACAF semifinals.
Real Salt Lake’s starters looked very similar to last season’s first team. Tony Beltran replaced Robbie Russell, but the rest of the lineup was the same:
- FORWARD: Saborio, Espindola (Russel for Espindola 59′)
- MIDFIELD: Morales, Beckerman, Johnson, Grabavoy (Williams 81′ for Grabavoy)
- DEFENSE: Wingert, Olave, Borchers, Beltran (Beltran Red Card 53′)
- KEEPER: Rimando
Mother Nature did not cooperate with the match. It snowed for hours before the match, and the field had to be plowed.
The match was played with a yellow ball so it could be distinguished from the snow. That was the official explanation.
The starters wore winter coats onto the field for introductions and shed them just before kickoff.
Arturo Alvarez was not considered to start due to a groin injury; however, he was available for selection. He did not enter the match.
Columbus dominated possession early and were the dominant team for the first half.
Real focused mostly on defense during the pre-season and it showed. The side’s passing struggled throughout the match, though it improved with the passage of time.
After Tony Beltran was sent off, Ned Grabavoy and Kyle Beckerman both received yellow cards for dissent.
The sending off of Beltran changed the match dramatically. Kreis brought Espindola off in favor of Russell, and RSL began playing for the draw. Will Johnson moved back to a holding midfield position alongside Kyle Beckerman to protect the goal.
The defensive pose of Real Salt Lake only intensified when Nat Borchers was sent off. Robbie Russell moved to central defender and Will Johnson dropped back to right back.
The Crew were unable to do anything with almost 40 minutes of a player advantage. Salt Lake controlled more possession after the Beltran red-card than before it.
The winner of next Tuesday’s match at Rio Tinto stadium will advance. In the event of a draw, away goals will determine the winner. If a 0-0 draw occurs, normal overtime procedures will be followed.
Category: Game Review