SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth-round on Tuesday night, defeating the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks 3-2 after extra time in front of 9,644 fans at a rainy Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will take on the USL Pro Charleston Battery – which beat RSL’s next MLS opponent the San Jose Earthquakes in the third-round on Tuesday night – in the U.S Open Cup fourth-round at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT on June 12.
Real Salt Lake jumped out to an early lead, going ahead in the third minute through MF Kyle Beckerman. The Claret-and-Cobalt controlled the remainder of the match but couldn’t quite see things out, conceding in the 87th minute to take the match into extra time. RSL scored twice in three minutes in the first period of extra time before conceding a consolation goal in stoppage time of the second period to down Atlanta 3-2.
RSL looked like it would cruise early, with Beckerman putting the Claret-and-Cobalt on top just three minutes into the game. The Claret-and-Cobalt captain got on the end of MF Javier Morales’s corner kick at the left post, flicking his header home from six yards to put the Utah side on top 1-0.
Head Coach Jason Kreis’s side continued attacking after going up, registering decent looks in the 10th, 18th and 24th minutes before generating a golden opportunity in the 26th. Morales had the chance, collecting FW Robbie Findley’s smart square ball at the top of the box and carrying it past an Atlanta player and into the right side of the area. The Argentine playmaker had a 1-v-1 with Silverbacks GK Joe Nasco but couldn’t take advantage, chipping a shot wide of the far post from eight yards.
The game settled down after Morales’s chance, with both sides struggling to create opportunities in the extremely rainy conditions. The next good chance didn’t come until after halftime, with RSL FW Devon Sandoval heading a Findley cross on goal but off of a diving Nasco in the 51st.
Atlanta had a look in the 60th minute. FW Jahbari Willis picked up a loose ball in the top right corner of the 18, turning and firing a shot just high and wide of the near post from 15 yards.
RSL generated decent looks in the 75th, 77th and 81st minutes, but couldn’t quite find an insurance goal. That came back to haunt the Claret-and-Cobalt in the 87th minute, when FW Kellen Gulley – on-loan to Atlanta from the Chicago Fire – equalized for the Silverbacks. Gulley collected a square ball on the break from fellow substitute FW Ruben Luna just outside the RSL box, turning on goal and curling a shot that RSL GK Josh Saunders got a finger to but couldn’t keep out.
Real Salt Lake dominated the first period of extra time, scoring twice in three minutes to build a 3-1 lead on the Silverbacks.
Sandoval put RSL up 2-1 in the 98th, putting the exclamation on a beautiful move that saw Morales slip FW Joao Plata in on the left side for a low cross that Sandoval slid home from five yards. Substitute MF Khari Stephenson added a third for RSL in the 101st minute, absolutely slamming a half-volley into the top right corner from 20 yards for his first goal in a Claret-and-Cobalt uniform.
Substitute Atlanta MF Pablo Cruz pulled one back for the Silverbacks in the 121st minute, curling a ball into the top left corner from eight yards out in the right side of the box.
Real Salt Lake will return to MLS action on Saturday, when it will host Western Conference foe San Jose at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 3-2 ATL
- Real Salt Lake MF Kyle Beckerman started Tuesday’s game not in his customary holding midfield role but on the side of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s midfield diamond. Beckerman hadn’t played on the outside of RSL’s midfield diamond since lining up there in front of then RSL Captain Carey Talley during the 2008 season.
- Beckerman’s goal was his third in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play for RSL. His three Open Cup goals for RSL tie him for most in the competition in club history with Claret-and-Cobalt Head Coach Jason Kreis and Head Scout Andy Williams.
- Real Salt Lake is now 6-8-0 all-time in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play. The Claret-and-Cobalt has 24 goals for and 29 goals against in its 14 games in the tournament.
- Tuesday’s win moved RSL to 3-2-0 against lower-division teams in the Open Cup. The Claret-and-Cobalt had lost its last match against a lower-division opponent in the tournament prior to Tuesday’s victory, losing 3-1 to the NASL Minnesota Stars FC in front of a record crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium in third-round action last May.
- RSL MF Khari Stephenson’s 101st minute goal was his first in a competitive game for RSL. Known for his rocket shot, the booming strike was a trademark goal for the Jamaican Stephenson.
REAL SALT LAKE 3–2 ATLANTA SILVERBACKS
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 ET 1 ET 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 2 0 3
Atlanta Silverbacks 0 1 0 1 2
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Javier Morales) – 3’
ATL – Kellen Gulley (Ruben Luna) – 87’
RSL – Devon Sandoval (Joao Plata, Javier Morales) – 98’
RSL – Khari Stephenson – 101’
ATL – Pablo Cruz – 121’
RSL – Yordany Alvarez (Yellow; Foul) – 4’
ATL – Daniel Barrera (Yellow; Foul) – 44’
ATL – Milton Blanco (Yellow; Foul) – 65’
RSL – Javier Morales (Yellow; Foul) – 68’
ATL – Borfor Carr (Yellow; Foul) – 80’
RSL – Ned Grabavoy (Yellow; Foul) – 117’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Josh Saunders; Lovel Palmer, Carlos Salcedo, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Wingert; Yordany Alvarez (Khari Stephenson, 84’); Kyle Beckerman (C), Sebastian Velasquez (Ned Grabavoy, 57’); Javier Morales; Devon Sandoval, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata, 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: Nick Rimando (GK), Abdoulie Mansally, Aaron Maund, Luis Gil
Atlanta Silverbacks (4-4-2) – Joe Nasco; Bobby Reiss, Alberto Navarro, Mike Randolph, Mark Bloom; Richard Menjivar, Daniel Barrera, Milton Blanco, Borfor Carr (Pablo Cruz, 91’); Jahbari Willis (Kellen Gulley, 64’), Pedro Mendes (Ruben Luna, 78’)
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Ati (GK), Martyn Lancaster
Referee: Younes Marrakchi
Referee's Assistants: Brad Jensen, Brandon Major
4th Official: Alex Krelo
Weather: Rainy and 50 degrees