Javier Morales scored two goals to put Real Salt Lake in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Crew last night.
Real Salt Lake is the first team from Major League Soccer to reach the semifinals of the tournament and will face Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica or CD Olimpia of Honduras for a chance at the final. The second leg in that aggregate goal series takes place on Thursday night with the Costa Rican side carrying a narrow 1-0 lead. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League will take part in the FIFA World Club Tournament at the end of the year.
The first leg in Columbus had been an ill-tempered scoreless affair, but RSL, led by, Javier Morales and Andy Williams, took control of the game early and comfortably beat a poor Columbus side.
RSL scored two first-half goals on near identical plays as Costa Rican Álvaro Saborío and Morales found the back of the net in the 23rd and 36th minutes. A goal by Peruvian forward Andres Mendoza early in the second half cut the score to 2-1 and gave the Crew a glimmer of hope. However, a second Morales goal with 13 minutes remaining extinguished any hopes of a Columbus comeback. And Williams added the icing on the cake with a majestic free kick on the final play of the game.
The Champions League semifinal series featuring RSL will also take place over two legs on March 15 at Rio Tinto and on April 5 in Costa Rica or Honduras. Real Salt Lake ensured themselves a weekend off from MLS league play ahead of the April 5 away leg.
image source: (George Frey/CONCACAF)