RSL DOWNED 2-1 BY D.C. UNITED IN EXTRA TIME
RSL Misses Out on U.S. Soccer’s National Championship for Fourth Time in as Many Years;
No Time for Rest as Rematch in League Play Looms Saturday Night at RFK Stadium
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, June 2, 2010) – Real Salt Lake saw a late equalizer go for naught in its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup MLS Play-in qualifying contest at D.C. United, as substitute MF Andy Najar’s goal at the start of the second extra added time period stood to down the defending MLS Cup champs 2-1 at RFK Stadium. The two sides traded penalty kicks in the final 15 minutes of regulation to set up a scramble to the finish that spilled over into the added extra time sessions. It would be United that would ultimately survive and advance, as last year’s tournament runner-up claimed MLS’ remaining berth in U.S. Soccer’s National Championship competition.
The first half was a choppy 45 minutes, with the makeshift line-ups feeling each other out – and adjusting to a revamped 4-2-3-1 formation in the visitors’ case. While Real Salt Lake would hold the better of the possession, it was United gaining the two best chances of the stanza off of lightning-fast counter-attacks, but GK Kyle Reynish made a stellar tip save of FW Luciano Emilio’s 35-yard effort in the 14th minute to keep D.C. off the board, while late pressure from DF Tony Beltran and a hard-charging Reynish would combine to force MF Thabiso Khumalo to push his 1-v-1 on goal just wide of the left post.
The second half began in similar fashion with RSL holding possession well, but things would start to even out just past the hour mark with the introduction of dangerous attackers on both sides, RSL inserting the influential trio of FW Álvaro Saborío, MF Javier Morales and FW Fabian Espíndola, while United subbed in FW Chris Pontius and MF Santino Quaranta. However, the scoreboard wouldn’t change until the 75th minute when, after Reynish slid in well to stop a shot at his right post, the ball popped up to Pontius, whose bicycle half-chance was deemed handled by MF Collen Warner. Emilio would sneak his low shot just past Reynish and inside the left post to put the home side up 1-0 with a quarter-hour to go.
But the lead would be short-lived, as Real Salt Lake would earn a PK of its own six minutes later after Espíndola’s cross from the left side of the area clipped the hand of DF Barry Rice on the way past. MF Will Johnson stepped up to bury the spot kick into the right side of goal in the 81st minute, setting up a frantic final 10 minutes of regulation. Both sides would have fine chances to avoid added extra time, but nothing else would find the back of the net, resulting in 30 more minutes of bonus soccer to decide who would advance.
While the attacking intensity ratcheted up for both sides, it became evident that it might take an individual effort to break down the defenses – and that would be supplied by the fresh legs of Najar just moments after his insertion between the two added time halves. In the 107th minute, the United rookie confidently split a pair of RSL defenders in the right side of the area before slotting low under an onrushing Reynish to give United the advantage once again. Real Salt Lake would throw everything it had on goal from there on out, but despite coming close on numerous occasions – including seeing a pair of shots cleared off the line by Rice – it couldn’t recreate the late-game magic that helped even up its first Play-in contest at San Jose six weeks ago.
Real Salt Lake Notes
· There will be little time to rest for both squads, who will meet up this Saturday, June 5, again at RFK Stadium, this time in League play. Real Salt Lake will look to improve upon its club-record five-game winning streak in MLS play when it squares off with United for a 5:30 p.m. MT kickoff (live on KUSG 2.2, KALL 700 Sports, ESPN Deportes 1600-AM and Homero 106.1-FM).
· With tonight’s result, Real Salt Lake’s overall record in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and tournament qualifying play dropped to 3-6-1. Since MLS teams went to the “Play-in” format to settle the last two of its eight berths in 2007, Real Salt Lake has failed to qualify, coming within one game of doing so each of the last two seasons.
· Tonight’s match saw the official RSL debut in League or Cup competition for a pair of rookies. DF Chris Schuler was plugged into the starting XI on the left side of the RSL backline and went 63 minutes on the evening, while 16-year-old Luis Gil entered following regulation and played an active 30 minutes during the added extra time sessions.
D.C. United v. Real Salt Lake
Hunt U.S. Open Cup “MLS Play-in” Qualifier
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
RFK Stadium – Washington, D.C.
DC – Luciano Emilio (penalty kick) 75
RSL – Will Johnson (penalty kick) 81
DC – Andy Najar (unassisted) 107
RSL – Tony Beltran (caution, Reckless Foul) 70
RSL – Collen Warner (caution, Handball) 73
RSL – Jean Alexandre (caution, Reckless Tackle) 77
DC – Kurt Morsink (caution, Reckless Foul) 92+
DC – Julius James (ejection, Violent Conduct) 123+
Real Salt Lake – GK-Kyle Reynish; DF-Robbie Russell, DF-Nat Borchers (capt), DF-Rauwshan McKenzie, DF-Chris Schuler (Fabian Espíndola 63); MF-Tony Beltran, MF-Ned Grabavoy (Javier Morales 63), MF-Collen Warner, MF-Jean Alexandre, MF-Will Johnson; FW-Pablo Campos (Álvaro Saborío 63)
Substitutes not Used: Nick Rimando, Jamison Olave
Statistics: Shots: 17; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves: 6; Fouls: 15; Offsides: 1; Corners: 9
D.C. United – GK-Troy Perkins; DF-Jordan
Statistics: Shots: 19; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves 6; Fouls: 10; Offsides: 4; Corners: 8
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee’s Assistants: Jason Cullum, James Conlee
Time of Match: 2:29
Weather: Clear and 88 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial