SANDY -- It was windy and wet at the start of the match, when Real Salt Lake hosted their international friendly match Tuesday night against Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente.
While the score remained nil for both sides for most of the game, the teams managed to tie 1-1 with some late goals.
Xolos midfielder Edgar Villegas was first to put a score on the board at about the 76 minute mark with a kick that curved the ball into the goalie box.
RSL tied up the match about 10 minutes later with a shot to the upper corner of the goal by midfielder Luis Gil.
“He went 90 minutes and looked sharp until the end,” RSL coach Jeff Cassar said. “He had a lot of good ideas for attacking and defense as well.”
The rain came down hard for most of the first half.
Fans had to abandon a giant claret and cobalt striped banner lest it blow away. Thunder marked the entrance of RSL’s mascot Leo the Lion for the pre-match parade of kings.
Rain poured as the RSL battle hymn played starting the match and did not let off for almost the entire first half.
It was the first meeting between the two sides, but the play was aggressive.
“These games kind of end up this way all of the time,” Cassar said. “We were prepared.”
Along with rain, the match saw lots of fouls from both teams, as players tangled with each other throughout the game.
Tijuana defenders John Requejo and Elio Castro both received yellow cards early in the match. RSL defender Tony Beltran also received a yellow about 21 minutes in. All of the yellow cards were for fouls.
In the second half, Xoloitzcuintles defender received a yellow card in the 59th minute while RSL defender Carlos Salcedo received a yellow in the 85th minute.
Both teams exhibited aggressive play with the Xoloitzcuintles goalie Gibran Lajud at times keeping a vigil well outside of his box and facing the ball head on.
Xoloitzcuintles coach Cesar Farias said there is a rivalry between U.S. and Mexico when it comes to soccer and that manifested itself on the field.
Cassar said Farias brought a young team to the match, but remained classy through the game.
RSL made numerous substitutions entering the second half, while on the Xolos sides, forward Luis Garcia came in for Henry Martin near the 75 minute mark.
Chris Schuler came in for midfielder John Stetzer, who had to be carried off in a stretcher about the 80th minute of play after an incident in the RSL backfield. As trainers worked on Stetzer, Xolos Fernando Arce came in for forward Paul Arriola.
The last time RSL played against an international team at Rio Tinto Stadium, it was eliminated from the 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League with a goalless draw with CS Herediano from Costa Rica in October 2012.
RSL came into the match with an overall successful record against international teams, with a a 14-8-7 all-time record.
Real Salt Lake next plays on Saturday at home against the Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders FC.
The Xoloitzcuintles will return to Mexico for LIGA Bancomer MX-2014 to face Jaguares de Chiapas on Friday at Estadio Caliente in Tijuana, where the team looks for its first win in five games.