SANDY, Utah – EXCLUSIVELY for Real Salt Lake season ticket holders, tickets for the Tuesday, October 1 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final Match against D.C. United go on sale at 10:00 a.m. MT TOMORROW, Thursday, August 15 at the Rio Tinto Stadium box offices (open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon-Fri), at www.RealSaltLake.com or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
While the D.C. United #USOC100 match is NOT included in the Real Salt Lake 2013 season ticket package, RSL “PRIDE” Season Ticket Holders will have an exclusive 2-week window to secure their seat location, and can also purchase unlimited additional seats to the match at preferred pricing. Visit www.RioTintoStadium.com for more details regarding the pricing for tickets to the match, which range from $17-$80 each, depending on location. Any remaining seats following the exclusive window for RSL STH will be released to the general public on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
By virtue of last week’s 2-1 victory over the MLS Portland Timbers – before a semifinal stage record crowd of 14,742 – Real Salt Lake will now host the 100th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT on Tuesday, Oct. 1 against D.C. United. One win away from a return to CONCACAF Champions League via the Open Cup, Jason Kreis' team is the first Utah side to advance to the tourney's Final in USOC history. Prior to its current four-game Open Cup run, Real Salt Lake had never previously won more than one game in any single #USOC100 tourney, and had won just two games all-time in the tournament proper (excluding MLS play-in games).
Several members of this year’s Claret-and-Cobalt have enjoyed success in the Open Cup prior to arriving at RSL, with three active players – MF Ned Grabavoy, 2005, LA Galaxy; DF Abdoulie Mansally, 2007, NE Revolution; and MF Khari Stephenson, 2004, Kansas City – and six members of the executive/technical staff – President Bill Manning, 1991, Brooklyn Italians; GM Garth Lagerwey, 1997, Dallas Burn; Head Coach Jason Kreis, 1997, Dallas Burn; Assistant Coach Jeff Cassar, 1997, Dallas Burn; Assistant Coach C.J. Brown, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, Chicago Fire; and Head Scout Andy Williams, 2003, Chicago Fire – lifting the Dewar Cup a combined 12 times in their illustrious playing careers. Another pair of RSL icons – Captain Kyle Beckerman and GK Nick Rimando – each reached the Open Cup Final in 2000 with the Miami Fusion, but fell, 2-1, to Chicago in the title game.
The October 1 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final will be the third occasion in which RSL has played for the opportunity to raise a trophy in front of its home fans; unfortunately, RSL was unable to capture hardware in either the 2008 MLS Eastern Conference Final – losing to New York – or in the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Final 2nd Leg – losing to Monterrey (MEX) – dropping 0-1 decisions before capacity Rio Tinto Stadium crowds in both games, which saw numerous RSL shots hit the woodwork and elude empty nets.
RSL has now advanced past the Quarterfinal stage of the LHUSOC for the first time in the club’s nine-year history, winning its first four games, all at home, by an aggregate scoreline of 13-5, before an average crowd of 13,500. The 13 goals scored in its four games of this year's U.S. Open Cup marks the best scoring rate among the four MLS semifinalists, while the October 1 U.S. Open Cup Final will mark the fifth straight home match for Real Salt Lake in this year's tournament. The ninth-year club set a modern-era attendance record for the semifinal round with 14,742 at its August 7 home game against Portland.
Real Salt Lake is now 8-8-1 all-time in U.S. Open Cup (or related qualifying) play, scoring 34 goals and conceding 32 in the tournament. RSL is 5-2-0 all-time against lower division teams in Open Cup action, with both losses coming against Minnesota. A year ago, RSL was bounced out of the Open Cup in the third-round, losing 3-1 to the NASL’s Minnesota Stars in front of a non-Final / non-Doubleheader record-setting crowd of 17,212 at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 29, 2012. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s best previous Open Cup finishes came in 2006 and 2011, when the Utah side advanced to the Quarterfinals of the tournament.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: In search of its third crown after having won the event in 1996 and 2008, RSL opponent D.C. United – which defeated RSL 1-0 at RFK Stadium back on March 9 in the second week of the current MLS regular season – is headed to its fifth U.S. Open Cup Final, after beating the Chicago Fire 2-0 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., on August 7.
In that game, D.C. and Chicago had limited scoring chances through most of the first half, but D.C. United's Dwayne De Rosario tallied a goal in the 44’ to give his side a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
M/F Luis Silva challenged Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson on a cross that was up for grabs. Johnson could not secure it and De Rosario capitalized on the loose ball from the left side of the box, driving his shot past Fire defender Gonzalo Segares and into the right side of the frame. For De Rosario, it was his 5th goal of the tournament to tie for the scoring lead with the Portland Timbers' Frederic Piquionne. De Rosario also has nine career U.S. Open Cup goals.
D.C. United padded its lead in the 48’ as MF Nick DeLeon – briefly a former RSL-AZ Academy player – zigzagging his way through several Fire defenders at the top of the box and shooting past Johnson for his first goal of the tournament. D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis made six saves for the clean sheet.
SEMIFINAL REWIND: In RSL’s 2-1 win over Portland, FW Alvaro Saborio gave Real Salt Lake an early boost with a 7’ header past Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, scoring off Captain Kyle Beckerman's cross to take a 1-0 lead.
The accurate, powerful header off Saborio's back foot marked the second goal of this year's Open Cup for the Costa Rican international, RSL’s all-time leading scorer (64 goals in 108 career games across all competitions) opening his account in the tourney with a late second-half tally during Salt Lake's 3-0 quarterfinal victory against the NASL Carolina RailHawks on June 26.
Real Salt Lake took control of the Portland match in the 78’ when Saborio laid off a Beckerman entry pass to FW Joao Plata, who saw his perfectly placed 20-yard shot curl toward the left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead. It was Plata's second goal of the tournament as well, the diminutive Ecuadorian scoring the game-winning penalty kick in the 4th round against the Charleston Battery en route to a 5-2 extra time victory on June 12.
Portland midfielder Diego Valeri made it interesting in the 90th minute when he rebounded his own shot to cut Salt Lake's lead to 2-1. Valeri's initial shot was saved by a diving Nick Rimando, but Valeri headed the rebound over the veteran Real Salt Lake goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The winner of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be granted a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament. Real Salt Lake competed in the 2010-11 and the 2012-13 editions of the CCL, becoming the first – and still only – MLS club to reach the final in 2011 before falling out of the continental tournament in the Group Stage last October. Participation in MLS Cup 2013 and claiming the MLS Supporters’ Shield as the regular season points leader also provide alternate routes for qualification into the 2014-15 CCL.
Now in its 100th year of competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup is an annual, single-elimination competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. For more information on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including a full list of all pairings & results, please visit www.USsoccer.com or www.TheCup.us.
Along with a berth into the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winner will receive a $250,000 cash prize from U.S. Soccer. The runner-up will collect $60,000 and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division league wins $15,000.