RSL begins it’s Champions League Group play journey in Guatemala on Tuesday night against Municipal CSD at Estadio Manuel Felipe Carrera. This match comes on the heels of Real Salt Lake’s beating at the hands of DC United (6-4) on Saturday night.
Municipal CSD is historically the top club in Guatemala and one of the top clubs in all of Central America. They have 29 League Titles to their credit and a CONCACAF Champions League Cup in 1974.
RSL heads into the match at full strength from a health standpoint, if not mentally after Saturday’s loss and with a ton of CONCACAF and International Experience likely in the lineup with: Rimando, Beckerman, Morales and Beltran all with Champions League Experience. Olmes Garcia, Joao Plata, Sebastian Jaime and Luis Gil all have International Experience in that part of the world. Lastly, Elias Vasquez has perhaps the greatest advantage of all..He’s a Guatemalan International and knows the opponent very well.
How much Vasquez can help with the game plan remains to be seen, ultimately RSL must go out and play. Expect a full house (capacity just over 7,500) and full support of the home side. Real Salt Lake is certainly the most talented team in Group G, that also includes Santa Tecla from El Salvador. Can they use that talent and get results on the road where they begin Tuesday and follow up with a match in El Salvador on September 15th. A combination of 4pts in those first 2 matches would certainly give RSL a huge shot a moving on with two matches at home in late September and late October.
The one name that RSL and MLS fans will recognize and is really the one danger man for Municipal CSD is Carlos Ruiz. The 10 year MLS Veteran and 2002 MLS MVP, returned to the club he began his career with and has scored 33 goals over the last season and a half for Municipal CSD.
Limit Ruiz (easier said than done), deal with what will likely be a very hostile environment and hopefully avoid being CONCACAF’d by the officials..And RSL has a great shot at escaping Guatemala with a positive result.
You can hear my call of the match Tuesday night at 8pm on ESPN 700 and on ESPN700sports.com