July 13, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Billed as “El Border Clasico”, the friendly professional soccer match held at Branch Field at University Stadium on Friday evening delivered on a promise. It brought a professional soccer atmosphere to Albuquerque. The exhibition between the Colorado Rapids of the MLS and Santos Laguna of the Mexican Premier League created a certain amount of electricity in the stadium. That electricity was compounded by an excited crowd of 9,042 that featured a very strong Santos Laguna lean to it.
The Colorado Rapids came out the aggressors to begin the match. The MLS club recorded the first three shots on goal of the evening, which included two from Kevin Harbottle. Colorado’s first shot in the seventh minute forced a team save from the Santos Laguna backline after goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez had been drawn out of the box on the play.
The Rapids’ Kevin Harbottle was the first to find the back of the net. He scored on a free kick from a couple yards outside the box in the 12th minute.
The lead for the home team wouldn’t last long before Santos Laguna got the equalizer just three minutes later off the foot of Alonso Escoboza. The left-footed shot sailed into the goal and triggered an eruption of cheers from the pro-Santos Laguna crowd.
The two teams went into halftime tied at one goal apiece. Colorado’s early momentum was halted by Santos and the crowd helped turn momentum towards the visitors.
The scoring chances lessened in the second half as it was Santos Laguna who took the first three shots of the period. The green and silver got their game-winning goal in the 76th minute on a strike from Nestor Calderon from the edge of the box.
Santos Laguna was crowned champions of “El Border Clasico” in a trophy ceremony at midfield after the match. The team exited the field to the cheers of thousands of fans who stayed to relish their team’s victory.