• Saturday Feb 20, 2016

    SCCL memories drive Real Salt Lake for Tigres tilt

    Javier Morales (pictured) pictured was a key member of the Real Salt Lake side that finished as runner-up to Monterrey in the 2010-11 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Salvador Melendez)

    TUCSON, Arizona -- When Real Salt Lake visits Tigres at the Estadio Universitario on Wednesday in the opening leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, it will be the Major League Soccer club’s first appearance in the knockout rounds since playing in the 2010/11 final.

    There are several players on this year’s roster who were part of the squad that came agonizingly close to becoming the first team from the United States to win the competition in its current form.

    Instead, after securing a 2-2 draw on the road in the opening leg, RSL fell to Monterrey at home, 1-0, and dropped a 3-2 aggregate decision.

    “It was a first, a chance to be the first team to raise that trophy and I felt like we had backing from everyone and support from around the league,” said goalkeeper Nick Rimando said on Real Salt Lake’s official website.

    It wasn’t a pleasant memory for veteran midfielder Javier Morales, a four-goal scorer during that SCCL campaign.

    “I don’t feel good,” the 36-year-old Morales said about the setback. “It’s not a good feeling because we were too close to do it. We got that tie in Mexico and then come back home with our fans there and our family, it was a tough one to lose.”

    Although Rimando views the Monterrey final as an opportunity lost, he appreciates the chance to make amends.

    “It was a game that I’ll always want back, a game I think we should have won, a game I think our fans deserved,” Rimando said. “To fast forward to this year, it’s a chance to get back to that moment.”

    Real Salt Lake played the New England Revolution to a wild 3-3 draw in its penultimate preseason friendly here Wednesday as both sides finished with 10 men.

    Morales scored from the penalty spot and set up a headed goal by Jamison Olave, while substitute Olmes Garcia added a goal for RSL, which closes its preseason schedule with an outing against the Columbus Crew.

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