Real Salt Lake amassed 26 shots last night in an unpleasant encounter with Panamanians Árabe Unido in Utah. A last-minute penalty kick awarded after a barge on Nelson González, allowed Alvaro Saborío to convert and secure a third consecutive victory for Major League Soccer in this first round of CONCACAF games.
The 21-year-old Argentinian Nelson González and Costa Rican International Saborío were two of the Real Salt Lake players who handled best some appallingly cynical time-wasting tactics from the (then) ten-man Árabe side in the closing minutes.
They had been reduced to ten as early as the 29th minute when defender Nahil Carroll was given his marching orders by Canadian referee Paul Ward for a studs-up tackle on RSL captain Kyle Beckerman. From that point on it appeared that Árabe Unido had one objective which was to survive.
The visitors had taken the lead shortly after RSL keeper Nick Rimando was unable to deal with the deflection his defender Nat Borchers made on an effort by Árabe Unido captain Armando Cooper. The ball ended up inside the goal to give the Panamanians a surprise lead.
Thereafter Unido embarked on an orgy of time-wasting which ended in eight minutes of added on time at the end of the second half. After the match RSL coach Jason Kreis said that the game represented “everything that is wrong with soccer.”
The lead didn’t last beyond halftime. Just before the interval, Chris Wingert pumped in a cross which Saborío headed past Calderón.
After the penalty award, Andres Santamaría became the second Panamanian player sent off for arguing with an under-siege Ward.
After Columbus Crew’s earlier victory and Toronto’s surprise triumph over Cruz Azul, Major League Soccer is now three for three. Seattle Sounders play in Marathon tonight.
Columbus Crew Defeat Municipal – CC Examiner