Real Salt Lake faced off against Liga MX side Atlas at America First Field on Thursday evening, in a continuation of this week’s Leagues Cup Showcase matches previewing next year’s expanded tournament.
Two other MLS clubs faced off against Mexican opponents in Leagues Cup Showcase matches on Wednesday night, with FC Cincinnati landing a 3-1 victory over Chivas Guadalajara and Nashville SC topping Club America in penalty kicks after drawing 3-3 in regulation.
On Thursday, Real Salt Lake couldn’t quite follow it up with a victory of their own, though the match was an eventful one, featuring one of the best goals an MLS player has scored all season and a first-half red card.
Real Salt Lake 1, Atlas 2
Atlas emerged with the 2-1 victory, responding with two unanswered goals after a spectacular golazo from Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera opened the scoring in the first half.
The highlight of the match was Herrera’s 17th-minute strike, which the right back scored in must-see fashion. Spotting the goalkeeper off his line while deep in his own end, Herrera alertly unleashed an absolute rocket from 70-plus yards out, leaving Atlas backstop José Hernández no chance as he watched the ball settle into the back of the net.
While protecting the lead, RSL went down a man in the 36th minute, when Justin Meram was shown a red card for a high boot that made contact with Édgar Zaldivar.
That set the stage for an Atlas equalizer, which was scored off a corner kick just five minutes after Meram’s ejection. RSL goalkeeper Tomas Gomez made a reaction save on the initial shot following the delivery, but Zaldívar was there to nod home the rebound.
The Liga MX side would capitalize on the man-advantage again in the second half, getting the eventual game-winner in the 71st minute. It was Lucas Rodríguez who got the decisive finish, cashing home another rebound after an initial shot glanced off the post.