Despite playing about 20 minutes 10 v. 9, the first leg of the Columbus Crew-Real Salt Lake CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal ended in a scoreless tie. The match now heads back to Rio Tinto Stadium on March 1.
The first half of the match was actually more well played than many had expected to see with both sides displaying decent passing through the midfield. But neither side was able to finish any of their chances.
The second half was much more sloppy and was marred by three ejections. Tony Beltran was the first player to be sent off when he picked up his second yellow card in the 53rd minute. The Crew spent the next 20 or so minutes unable to mount much of a challenge, despite their advantage. In the 73rd minute, Emilio Renteria and Nat Borchers both received red cards. It was not clear what prompted Jair Marrufo to eject the two players.
The Crew's best chance to score came in the 85th minute when substitute Jeff Cunningham found himself behind the RSL defense on a set piece. But he was unable to get a touch on a loose ball.
The current forecast for March 1's second leg indicates that the weather should be much more agreeable for soccer. There's no snow in the forecast for the day of the game or the day before and temperatures are expected to be in the 40s.