Municipal of Guatemala's 1-0 victory over El Salvador's Santiagueno yesterday at RFK Stadium demonstrated that soccer doesn't have to be high scoring to be an electrifying game.
Municipal, the underdog to Santiagueno, which played 10 men from El Salvador's national team, went ahead on Julio Castillo's penalty kick goal at 28:42 and survived a furious Santiagueno rally in the second half for the victory before an estimated crowd of 5,000.
The star for Municipal was goalkeeper Rogelio Flores, who made 14 saves on 26 Santiagueno shots in the second half alone. At one point, with two Salvadoran players streaking in uncontested, Flores abandoned the net and came out to steal the ball and dribble safely to the corner.
Still, Santiagueno had its chances to tie the contest. After Municipal squandered a two-on-one break that would have given the Guatemalans a 2-0 lead, Salvadoran striker Miguel Escamilla boomed a kick off the crossbar over Flores' outstretched hands at the 65-minute mark.
With five minutes left, Escamilla squarely hit a 30-yarder off the right post. Flores saved three straight rebound attempts before smothering the ball, and his teammates swarmed him. The knowledgable spectators, many from Washington's Salvadoran community, joined in roaring their approval for the brilliant goaltending.
The more talented Salvadorans lost the game when a Santiagueno player tripped Guatemalan Rolando Figueroa inside the penalty area. Castillo easily slid a right-footed, 15-yard kick to the left of goalkeeper Edwardo Hernandez and the 1-0 lead held up.
The game, sponsored by the National Soccer League, was the first of several such exhibitions the group hopes to bring to the area this spring and summer.