It was a fantastic atmosphere at Rio Tinto Stadium as the 20,000 seater was jammed packed with Real Salt Lake fans getting ready to see their side and the rest of America hoping to see history being made in US Soccer. Not a single seat was empty in the suburbs of Salt Lake City and the Royal Red and Purple were going to put their stamp on this game.
Early on you could see RSL pressing their Mexican opponents as Fabian Espindola tried very hard to get that early goal and the advantage of the aggregate, but would miss the net within the first fifteen minutes of the match. You could see Monterrey on their heels and trying to weather the storm.
As the first half went on Monterrey found their composure and were able to get a late goal just inside first half stoppage time. It was a great attacking run by Sergio Santana and what a fake he pulled on a sliding Nick Rimando. He made a quick back pass to Humberto Suazo and with an open net, Suazo was able to convert the chance and Monterrey took the advantage on the aggregate three goals to two.
That shot sucked the life out of the Rio Tinto Stadium crowd and after the celebration, referee Roberto Moreno blew his whistle for halftime. It looked like this match was going to end scoreless at the half and maybe a big chance to grab that goal in the second half. But when the second half came it looked to be another ten rounds of rock’em sock’em football.
But sadly it looked like that early start from Real Salt Lake tired them out at the start of the second half. Passes weren’t sharp, possession was given away with ease and they allowed Monterrey to counter with no problems. But you saw the second wind coming from RSL and they started to tighten things up a bit. But when they were able to get into the final third it failed.
Monterrey’s plan was solid. Try and get that away goal and bunker all night long. They did that and deserved the championship of CONCACAF as they will advance to the FIFA World Club Cup. Not only was this a heartbreaking loss for Real Salt Lake, but this loss broke their 34 home match unbeaten streak in all competitions. All week long everyone in Salt Lake City, the state of Utah and the entire country had been waiting for this special night and to be honest it’s tough to watch Monterrey take home the trophy, but I have to say this was a hard fought match with plenty of sloppy moments from both sides.
Yet once again it was Monterrey that was able to take advantage and score the winning goal inside first half stoppage time and will represent the confederation in Japan for the World Club Cup. But as this edition comes to a close, a new one will start up as the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas will try to qualify and the Los Angeles Galaxy with the Colorado Rapids will start play in the group stage.