SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Wednesday, April 14, 2010) – It was far from how Real Salt Lake scripted it, but the Utah side ended up getting the job done tonight in its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup “MLS Play-in” round affair at Buck Shaw Stadium, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 5-3 in penalty kicks after a wild, back-and-forth 3-3 draw on the campus of Santa Clara University.
In a match that had a little bit of everything, Real Salt Lake would jump out to a lead just seven minutes in when FW Robbie Findley slotted home past ‘Quakes GK Jon Busch after the RSL striker alertly pounced on a poor pass in the San Jose defensive third. The visitors then appeared to seize complete control of the result at the hour mark, when MF Nelson Gonzalez’s 22-yard free kick tally gave the visitors a 2-0 cushion. But the Earthquakes wouldn't give up that easily, pulling one back through DF Chris Leitch eight minutes later before FW Arturo Alvarez provided a dramatic equalizer with two minutes remaining in regulation to even things up at 2-2, sending the match into 30 minutes of added extra time.
San Jose rookie Justin Morrow would give the home side its first lead of the night in the 103rd minute, just sneaking a shot past RSL ‘keeper Kyle Reynish, but Real Salt Lake – much like in its draw with Seattle four nights ago in Sandy – would provide more late drama of its own, this time via DF Nat Borchers’ header off a cross from fellow defender Robbie Russell in the 118th minute, pushing the match to a 3-3 draw and, eventually, into kicks from the penalty spot.
Alvarez's sparkling effort after the half wouldn't matter in penalties, as the notorious thorn in RSL's side missed the Earthquakes' first attempt. Meanwhile, the visitors would bury all five of its spot kicks, and fittingly it was RSL's famed "Open Cup hero" MF Andy Williams that finished off the proceedings with his conversion in the fifth round.
Real Salt Lake Notes
- Real Salt Lake still has one more “MLS Play-in” qualifying round to go through to advance into the 96th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, as the Claret-and-Cobalt will face the winner of the D.C. United/FC Dallas match-up at RFK Stadium on Wednesday, April 28. After losing a coin flip, RSL will again be forced to travel for that impending contest, which will be played by early June.
- Although Real Salt Lake advanced from tonight’s contest, the result still will not count as the squad’s first-ever road win in the competition, as the match will officially go down in the record books as a 3-3 draw, pushing the Utah side’s all-time away mark in the tournament to 0-4-1.
- Real Salt Lake lost a key cog on its backline around the half-hour mark, as DF Chris Wingert was forced from the match due to a hamstring strain. It was the second such injury of the match, as San Jose striker Cornell Glen suffered a similar injury just 10 minutes in while going after a ball in the RSL penalty area.
- There will be little rest for the weary, as Real Salt Lake will travel south down the California coast on Thursday to Los Angeles in preparation for this Saturday’s Western Conference showdown and MLS Cup 2009 rematch with the LA Galaxy (8:30 p.m. MT, live on Fox Soccer Channel). Among the regular contributors from RSL’s first three League matches, DF Nat Borchers, MF Will Johnson, and FW Robbie Findley all put in the full 120 minutes, while DF Robbie Russell played 89 minutes in place of the injured Wingert. DF Tony Beltran, MF Jean Alexandre, and DF Rauwshan McKenzie also put in the full two hours of game action for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
- Tonight marked the official RSL debut of MF Collen Warner, who started the match in the #10 role and played the first 69 minutes before being replaced by regular captain Kyle Beckerman.
- The goal for Findley was his first for RSL in League or Cup competition in 2010, while Gonzalez’s tally was his first official goal in an RSL uniform since joining the squad last August.
Real Salt Lake Quotes
- RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis on the match: “It seems like these Open Cup games are crazy affairs for us, at least they have been the last couple of years. To be up two goals, and then go down 3-2, and then tie it up in the waning moments and win it in penalties, we have to look at this as a positive thing. I feel very good about the way our team reacted to what could have been a very disappointing situation.”
- Kreis on players that stood out tonight: "I think Nat Borchers played a solid game tonight. He hustled throughout the entire match and I believe that those who play their hardest will get rewarded in the end. He really help uplift the team tonight and played a major role in our success this evening."
- Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers on his 118th minute equalizer: "I saw the scoreboard and read there was only about two minutes left into overtime and decided to take that risk of attacking. The ball popped out, Robbie Russell got a good cross over and luckily I was at the back post and headed it in. I thought it was a lucky header, but in the end that's how the sport is played."
- Borchers on giving up a 2-0 lead: "It's actually tough giving up a lead like that and then trailing in overtime. I believe that third goal they scored on us in overtime really woke us up and made us battle even harder for the tie. We realized they were playing too much in our own half of the field, and when we got the ball we decided to press them and fortunately we got that tying goal."
San Jose Earthquakes v. Real Salt Lake
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup “MLS
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 – Buck Shaw Stadium
RSL – Robbie Findley 1 (unassisted) 7
RSL – Nelson Gonzalez 1 (unassisted) 60
SJ – Chris Leitch 1 (unassisted) 68
SJ – Arturo Alvarez 1 (Ramiro Corrales 1) 88
SJ – Justin Morrow 1 (Arturo Alvarez 1) 103
RSL – Nat Borchers 1 (Robbie Russell 1) 118
RSL – Johnson (goal), Beckerman (goal), Findley (goal), Russell (goal), Williams (goal)
SJ – Alvarez (wide right), Gjertsen (goal), McDonald (goal), Sanchez (goal)
RSL – Will Johnson (caution) 8
SJ – Steven Beitashour (caution) 51
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 89
SJ – Bobby Burling (caution) 109
Real Salt Lake – Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Wingert (Robbie Russell 31), Will Johnson, Collen Warner (Kyle Beckerman 69), Jean Alexandre, Nelson Gonzalez (Andy Williams 61), Robbie Findley, Alvaro Saborío (Fabian Espíndola 80).
Statistics: Shots: 10; Shots on Goal: 4; Fouls: 19; Offsides: 3; Corners: 6.
San Jose Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Bobby Burling, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales, Javier Robles (Arturo Alvarez 60), Ramon Sanchez, Chris Wondolowski (Eduardo 61) (Omar Jasseh 74), Justin Morrow, Cornell Glen (Steven Beitashour 13), Joey Gjertsen.
Statistics: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 5; Fouls: 16; Offsides: 1; Corners: 11.
Referee: Alejandro Mariscal
Senior Assistant: Said Ravenfar, Colin Arblaster
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial