Real Salt Lake 1 vs 0 Colorado Rapids
May 24, 2023; Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado
MLS: Real Salt Lake (4-6-3, 15 points); Colorado Rapids (2-6-6, 12 points)
Man of the Match: Jefferson Savarino did not disappoint in his Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup debut, scoring the game-winning goal in the 30th minute to knock off the Colorado Rapids, sending Real Salt Lake through to the Quarterfinals. The play began with a high press from Anderson Julio which forced an error from the Rapids defense. Julio gave the ball to Savarino who dribbled from the center circle and whipped a curling shot around the goalkeeper, scoring his first goal across all competitions since April 22. With the goal Savarino became the 30th player to score in the tournament for RSL, scoring the 53rd goal for the Club in the Open Cup.
Telling Stats: Gavin Beavers, making his third consecutive start in the tournament, recorded the sixth shutout all-time by an RSL goalkeeper in the U.S. Open Cup. Prior to tonight’s victory, RSL had faced their Rocky Mountain rivals twice before in the tournament, dropping both matches in 2006 and 2007. The last time RSL appeared in the Quarterfinals was 2015 when they beat LA Galaxy 1-0 on an 87th minute header from Aaron Maund. For the third time this year, RSL will face their opponent twice in the same week in Open Cup and league play (Cup win and league draw against Portland, Cup and league wins against Colorado, and two home matches to come against the Galaxy).
What You Missed: The Rapids came close to drawing first blood in the 23rd minute when Sam Nicholson took a shot from distance, but Gavin Beavers’ diving attempt was just enough to get a fingertip to the ball and force a deflection off the crossbar. Seven minutes later Anderson Julio forced a turnover at midfield and passed the ball off to fellow U.S. Open Cup debutant Jefferson Savarino, who dribbled from midfield before bending the ball around goalkeeper Marko Ilic from 25-yards out to give RSL the lead. RSL had a chance to double the score five minutes into the second half, but Maikel Chang’s header was denied by the post. The remainder of the match saw both teams battle for a game-altering goal, but RSL was able to hold on to the one-goal victory thanks to a solid backline performance.
What’s Next?: RSL will travel to the Twin Cities to take on Minnesota United in league play this Saturday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m. MT before returning home to take on LA Galaxy on Wednesday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. MT. The Galaxy will return to America First Field a week later on June 7 for a U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals showdown.