SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake advanced to the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday night, getting goals from FW Alvaro Saborio and FW Joao Plata to defeat the Portland Timbers 2-1in front of a record USOC Semifinal crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will host D.C. United – which won 2-0 at the Chicago Fire in Wednesday’s other semifinal – in the Open Cup Final on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. It will be RSL’s first-ever Open Cup Final appearance and third final in club history after the 2009 MLS Cup and 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Final. The 2013 Open Cup winner will earn a berth into the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League and receive a $250,000 cash prize.
RSL got on the board early on Wednesday, taking the lead through Saborio in the seventh minute. MF Luis Gil picked up a loose corner kick just outside the box and smartly played MF Kyle Beckerman through on the right wing. The Claret-and-Cobalt captain curled in a deft cross from the sideline, finding a backpedaling Saborio at the back post for a headed finish off of the right post and in.
Real Salt Lake slowed things down after taking the early lead, keeping the ball for long stretches and not allowing Portland much going forward. The Timbers started to regain a foothold towards the end of the half, however, nearly equalizing in the 40th minute. Former RSL MF Will Johnson got on the end of a cross in the center of the box, half-volleying a right-footed shot that Claret-and-Cobalt GK Nick Rimando made a terrific reaction save on.
Portland had another good look in first half stoppage time. MF Diego Valeri curled a cross in from the right corner, finding FW Ryan Johnson – himself another ex-RSL man – at the back post. Johnson headed his close-range effort toward goal, but couldn’t quite direct it on frame, deflecting the shot off of a RSL player and off the left post.
RSL clamped down again at the start of the second half, not allowing Portland anything going forward until the 72nd minute, when Valeri almost found the back of the net. Timbers DF Ryan Miller started the play, crossing a ball into the center of the box from the left wing. Valeri – who had made a late run into the box – ran unmarked onto the cross just inside the penalty spot, but couldn’t keep his header on frame, sending the 10-yard effort wide of the left post.
Valeri’s miss came back to haunt the Timbers in the 78th minute, when Plata put RSL up 2-0. Beckerman played a pass to a posting up Saborio at the top of the 18, with the Costa Rican international quickly laying the ball off to Plata in the center of Portland’s third. The substitute striker did the rest, taking a touch away from his marker before curling a gorgeous 25-yarder past Portland GK Donovan Ricketts and inside the far post.
Portland pulled a goal back in the 91st minute. Valeri had the score, collecting substitute MF Kalif Alhassan’s pass just outside the 18 before beating several RSL players in the box and firing a shot toward the left post that Rimando made a fine stop on. Unfortunately for RSL, the veteran ‘keeper couldn’t control the rebound, which caromed to Valeri, who headed home from just inside the penalty spot.
The Timbers pushed hard for the equalizer after Valeri’s goal, but couldn’t break down the RSL back line.
Real Salt Lake has a quick turnaround, returning to action this Saturday, when it will host Eastern Conference foe the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets are still available for Saturday’s match and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2-1 POR
- Tonight’s win moves Real Salt Lake into its first ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. The Claret-and-Cobalt will take on D.C. United in the 100th USOC Final at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 1. No team from Utah has ever won – or hosted – the Open Cup Final in the 100 year history of the tournament.
- Tonight’s crowd of 14,742 was the largest ever in the modern/pro era to see a U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, breaking the previous mark of 12,129 set by the minor-league Rochester Rhinos in 1996.
- His one goal, one assist performance in tonight’s match gives Real Salt Lake FW Alvaro Saborio five goals and one assist in three games since returning to RSL from international duty ahead of the July 27 match at the New York Red Bulls. RSL’s all-time leading scorer, Saborio now has 10 goals and two assists in 12 matches this year across all competitions. Real Salt Lake is now a dominant 33-6-8 in all competitions when the Costa Rican international scores.
- Tonight’s match was the first of three in 24 days between Real Salt Lake and Portland. The Claret-and-Cobalt will travel to JELD-WEN Field to take on the Timbers on Wednesday, Aug. 21 before returning home to host Portland in a nationally televised game on NBC Sports Network on Aug. 30.
- Tonight’s match was the first game featuring both DF Tony Beltran and DF Chris Wingert since RSL’s 3-0 Open Cup Quarterfinal win over the Carolina RailHawks on June 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Claret-and-Cobalt went 2-2-2 in the six games in between June 26. The Utah side was 0-1-1 when playing without both Wingert and Beltran, giving up six goals in the two games – a 4-3 loss at New York on July 27 and a 2-2 draw at the Colorado Rapids last Saturday.
REAL SALT LAKE 2–1 PORTLAND TIMBERS
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 7, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil) – 7’
RSL – Joao Plata (Alvaro Saborio, Kyle Beckerman) – 78’
POR – Diego Valeri – 91’
RSL – Carlos Salcedo (Unsporting Behavior) – 42’
POR – Ryan Johnson (Unsporting Behavior) – 42’
POR – Pa Modou Kah (Unsporting Behavior) – 94’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C); Luis Gil (Yordany Alvarez, 88’), Khari Stephenson (Javier Morales, 80’); Ned Grabavoy; Robbie Findley (Joao Plata, 61’), Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella (GK), Lovel Palmer, Sebastian Velasquez, Olmes Garcia
Portland Timbers (4-3-3): Donovan Ricketts; Michael Harrington, Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ryan Miller (Alvas Powell, 77’); Diego Chara, Will Johnson (C) (Kalif Alhassan, 63’), Diego Valeri; Darlington Nagbe, Ryan Johnson (Jose Adolfo Valencia, 63’), Rodney Wallace
Substitutes not used: Jake Gleeson (GK), Jack Jewsbury, Alvas Powell, Rauwshan McKenzie, Ben Zemanski
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Greg Barkey
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Cloudy and 85 degrees