After a brutally cold first day and a 0-0 game (albeit an entertaining one), we got great weather on Tuesday and a remarkable game to broadcast. Here's my Day 2 recap for MLSsoccer.com.
Real Salt Lake and Stoke City had been two of the more impressive teams on the opening day of the tournament, and they were pitted against each other on Tuesday. Stoke, however, only had 13 players (which meant only one field-player substitute) due to a red-card suspension. Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, had vocal support in the crowd from a Layton, Utah-based youth club that has produced several players on the RSL Academy roster.
Stoke scored early, but Real Salt Lake controlled much of the first half. RSL head coach Martín Vásquez told his players at halftime that they were affording Stoke too much space, and RSL came out possessed in the second half. They tied the score and dominated the entire half, but when Stoke scored following a free kick in the final minute of regulation, it looked like curtains.
There were several minutes of stoppage time, however, and Salt Lake scored a dramatic tying goal with what turned out to be the last kick of regulation in the third minute of stoppage time! The goal really saved their chances of winning the tournament; otherwise Stoke City would have controlled its own path to the final.
Instead, Real Salt Lake won the shootout to earn an extra point in the standings and provide a memorable ending to our broadcast! After we had tearful injuries on Monday's show, I hoped we would get some jubilation on our next broadcast, and we certainly did.
Here's the full archive of the game -- the frantic finish starts around the 1:24:55 mark: