Soccer  > General Soccer  > Salt Lake rallies for 3-2 win at Arabe Unido
September 23, 2010, 10:59 AM
PANAMA CITY - Real Salt Lake became the first team from Major League Soccer to win a CONCACAF Champions League game in Panama, getting two first-half goals from Will Johnson to beat Arabe Unido 3-2 on Wednesday.

The victory was the first in six tries for an MLS team in the confederation club championship and moved Salt Lake atop Group A with nine points after four rounds. Mexico Cruz Azul's was second two points back followed by Toronto with four and Arabe Unido with three.

The victory completes a two-game sweep by Salt Lake over Arabe Unido, winning 2-1 at home on August 18. Salt Lake will travel to Toronto next week and then finish at home against Cruz Azul.

Arabe Unido, which has lost three straight and is winless in its last five, must play its final two games away, next week at Cruz Azul and then Toronto.

After falling behind in the second minute, RSL equalized on Will Johnson's first goal in the 10th, went ahead in the 36th on a header by Alvaro Saborio and took a 3-1 lead in the 43rd on Johnson's second.

Arabe Unido, which had scored only two goals in its previous four matches combined in all competitions, took the lead after Chris Schuler shouldered down Oscar Londono just outside the top right corner of the area.

Williams Aguilar then curled a left-footed free kick over the wall and just inside the right post past Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando.

But Salt Lake, which suffered its only loss in its previous 12 games at Cruz Azul 5-4, rallied quickly. Johnson pressed Harold Cummings inside his own area near the byline, and as the Arabe Unido captain tried to pass wide, was unable to get it past the Canadian midfielder.

The ball bounded off Johnson's shin back toward goalkeeper Jose Marin, but not before Edgar Espindola was able to get a touch. Marin blocked the shot, but Johnson corralled the rebound, took a touch across the six-yard box and finished with a slow, rolling left-footed shot.

Marin stymied Salt Lake three times as the U.S. champion took control of the possession. Marin blocked Ned Grabavoy from short range inside the area in the 19th, did the same to Robbie Russell in the 24th after Johnson's free kick dropped inside the area and had to dive to knock away another effort by Grabavoy from the top of the area in the 29th.

But Saborio scored his sixth goal in the Champions League rising out of a crowd on the six-yard line to head in Nelson Gonzalez's corner.

Saborio then helped double RSL's lead seven minutes later, playing a ball between two defenders to Johnson, who was able to beat Arabe Unido's offside trap, turn inside the area, take one touch and flick a shot with the outside of his right foot past Marin.

Arabe Unido was more aggressive to start the second half, and Mario Sergio Angulo pulled the Panamanian side within a goal in the 53rd. He sprinted past Tony Beltran at the top of the Salt Lake area before being knocked over and drawing the penalty, which he converted.

Salt Lake will have to play its next match without Espindola, who was ejected from the bench with a second yellow card in the 87th minute, apparently for something he said.


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