The final match of the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase saw Liga MX powerhouse Atlas FC visit Real Salt Lake, bringing the series to an end with the two-time defending champions visiting an MLS side who are still hoping to seal a playoff spot. The match was closely fought, and included some spectacular chances at both ends, but would end with the Liga MX side getting a measure of revenge after losing the Campeones Cup to New York City FC last week.
The hosts were the more intrepid side from the off, as Bode Davis forced a fine fingertip save from José Hernández in the match’s first ten minutes (8’). Atlas responded quickly, though as Ozziel Herrera fired over from close range just moments later as both teams looked to gain the upper hand. The deadlock was soon broken, though, with a spectacular goal from some seventy yards by Aaron Herrera (17’)
Stunned, Atlas struggled to get to grips with the match, and nearly conceded a second, with Davis getting on the end of Pablo Ruiz’s cross just before the half hour mark (29’). Atlas’ Ozziel Herrera would then turn provider, crossing for Luis Reyes, forcing another save by Gómez (33’) before RSL striker Justin Meram was sent off (36’)
Playing with ten men, the hosts would soon concede at a corner with Edgar Zaldivar levelling the score at a corner (41’). After the break, Atlas continued to push for the lead, and Gómez came up big again against Ozziel Herrera on the counter before denying Edyairth Ortega on a corner taken short (51’). Against the run of play, though, Axel Kai got away from the Mexican side’s defenders, and forced a smart save from José Hernandez (61’).
A low cross from Edyairth Ortega came close to finding an Atlas striker, but the hosts continued to hold firm (69’). It was only a momentary reprise, though as Lucas Rodriguez pounced after Christopher Trejo’s shot had come off the bottom of the post, punching home from close range to give the visitors the lead (71’). Atlas weren’t done yet, though, as a low cross by Abella came close to finding Ozziel Herrera ten minutes from time (80’).
No further goals would come, though, despite a header flashing over the bar by Justen Glad (90 + 3’) and the match would end with Los Rojinegros taking home a win. With the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase finished, it’s now time to look ahead to next year’s event, which will involve every team from both MLS and Liga MX.
Real Salt Lake 1-2 Atlas FC
Real Salt Lake: Aaron Herrera (17’)
Atlas FC: Edgar Zaldivar (41’), Lucas Rodriguez (71’)
Real Salt Lake: Pablo Mastroeni (44’) Tomas Gómez (52’) Scott Caldwell (84’) Gennaro Michael Nigro (88’)
Atlas FC: Gaddi Aguirre (48’) Edgar Zaldivar (64’) Luis Reyes (78’), Edyairth Ortega (90 + 3’)
Dismissals: Justin Meram (36’)
Real Salt Lake: Tomas Gomez; Aaron Herrera (Justen Glad 46’), Erik Holt, Nick Besler (Zack Farnsworth 74’); Bode Davis (Jude Wellings 88’), Scott Caldwell, Pablo Ruiz (Marcelo Silva 46’), Andrew Brody (Gennaro Michael Nigro 62’); Jasper Löeffelsend; Daniel Musovski (Axel Kei 46’), Justin Meram
Substitutes: Zac MacMath, Gennaro Michael Nigro, Marcelo Silva, Gavin Beavers, Justen Glad, Jude Wellings, Axel Kei, Zackery Farnsworth
Manager: Pablo Mastroeni
Atlas FC: José Hernández; Diego Zaragoza (José Abella 46’), Gaddi Aguirre (Alejandro Gómez 82’), Hugo Nervo, Luis Reyes (Idekel Domínguez 89’), Aníbal Chalá (Emanuel Aguilera 46’); Ángel Márquez (Lucas Rodríguez 58’), Edgar Zaldivar (Abraham Bass 89’), Edyairth Ortega; Jesús Ocejo (Christopher Trejo 46’), Ozziel Herrera (Daniel Cervantes 82’)
Substitutes: Daniel Cervantes, Christopher Trejo, Abraham Bass, Jorge Rodríguez, Idekel Dominguez, Antonio Sánchez, José Abella, Lucas Rodríguez, Jesús Gómez, Emanuel Aguilera
Manager: Diego Cocca