The Costa Rican side finished atop Group 2 with 10 points, reaching the knockout stage for the first time in three CONCACAF Champions League appearances. After Houston drew with Olimpia earlier Tuesday, the result again denied the United States from getting all four its entrants into the quarterfinals for the first time.
Most of the match was played under a cold, driving rain with temperature at kickoff listed at 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius).
Fabian Espindola had two chances to put Real Salt Lake ahead in the opening 20 minutes, but he was unable to put the ball past Herediano goalkeeper Leo Moreira.
In the fifth minute, Javier Morales played him behind the defense and he rounded Moreira, but Espindola's left-footed shot skimmed off the crossbar.
In the 16th minute, Espindola's attempt from 16 meters deflected out for a corner kick.
Three minutes after Nick Rimando made a diving save, Luis Gil had his attempt from the top of the box deflect out for another corner in the 50th minute.
Before leaving the match with an apparent right hamstring injury, Chris Schuler nearly cost his team a goal with a midfield giveaway, but Yendrick Ruiz put his attempt off the post in the 57th.
One minute later, with Moreira off his line, Morales had his low shot blocked by a defender in front of goal.
In the 72nd minute, Elias Aguilar took the ball down off his chest and his volley from the edge of the box was saved by Rimando. Three minutes later, Rimando charged out of his box to clear the ball away from an onrushing attacker.
A rare mistake by the Herediano defense led to a corner kick in the 79th minute. A fifth consecutive capacity crowd collectively rose to its feet, but the corner was easily headed out of danger.
Real Salt Lake had two chances in the final minute of second-half stoppage time, but Morales' corner toward the back post was knocked out for a second corner and Espindola's attempt was headed away, disappointing the sellout attendance of 20,436.
Herediano won the opening match of the Group Stage between the teams, beating the Americans 1-0 in San Jose, Costa Rica, on July 31.