Round - MLS play in game #1
Opponent - San Jose Earthquakes
Score - RSL 5 - San Jose Earthquakes 4
Team advances in Cup with shootout win
(by Michael Black desnews.com 4-15-10)
Real Salt Lake is making a reputation as a clutch team. After blowing a two-goal lead in regulation, it took RSL penalty kicks to beat the San Jose Earthquakes 5-4 in a shootout for a play-in game to qualify for the Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup.
Real went a perfect 5-for-5 in the shootout as Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley, Robbie Russell and Andy Williams all converted their attempts, and San Jose's hero earlier, Arturo Alvarez — who scored in the 88th minute to force extra time — missed as the first shooter for the Quakes
"I was thinking as the game was winding down, 'I haven't had a lot of luck in Open Cup matches,' " said coach Jason Kreis in a radio interview. "Hopefully, this win will reverse some of that luck."
The game went back forth with several momentum swings. Just like in the two teams' MLS opener 18 days ago, Real got on the board early. In the seventh minute, Robbie Findley scored on a one-on-one chance, beating keeper Jon Busch.
Nelson Gonzalez added to the lead in the 60th minute. The Argentinean midfielder scored on a free kick from 22 yards with a left-foot blast that bent around the wall for the 2-0 lead.
Chris Leitch scored in the 69th minute for San Jose, and Alvarez evened it with just two minutes of regulation remaining.
San Jose went up in the 103rd minute as Justin Morrow scored on an Alvarez assist. But Real equalized when Nat Borchers scored on a header in the 117th minute.
Kyle Reynish started in goal for Nick Rimando as Real used an interesting mix of veterans and youngsters in its lineup. The midfield had rookie Collen Warner and second-year pro Jean Alexandre starting in the middle, before Williams and Beckerman entered. Rauwshan McKenzie got the start at the back. Unfortunately, a nightmare scenario occurred when starter Chris Wingert was replaced early by Robbie Russell with a strained hamstring.
Real moves on in the Open Cup to face either D.C. United or F.C. Dallas next month. The team must regroup for its fourth MLS game of the season at the Home Depot Center on Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Date - June 2nd, 2010
Round - MLS play in game #2
Opponent - DC United
Stadium - RFK Stadium
Score - DC United 2 - RSL 1
Real Salt Lake misses berth in U.S. Open Cup
(by James Edwards desnews.com 6-3-10)
On the road, in the heat and with four missing regulars, Wednesday night's U.S. Open Cup qualifier against D.C. United was always going to be a tough task for Real Salt Lake.
RSL fought through the adversity admirably, but in the end actually made a tough situation worse.
With an approach primarily geared toward stealing a late victory at RFK Stadium, RSL failed to finish a winner in regulation and ended up falling to D.C. United 2-1 after 30 extra minutes.
D.C. United substitute Andy Najar provided the winning goal with a fantastic individual effort in the 107th minute as he dribbled between Will Johnson and Tony Beltran and buried a low drive shot past keeper Kyle Reynish.
The victory officially qualified D.C. United for the 40-team Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, while RSL will once again be watching the rest of the tournament from home.
"I walk away from that very proud of what our players put into it, very proud of the effort they gave; there was never any die in our team," said RSL coach Jason Kreis.
These teams meet again on Saturday in a league match, a quick turnaround that definitely factored into Kreis' lineup decisions.
With RSL's numerous injuries and a very busy schedule later this summer, Kreis admits bowing out of the U.S. Open Cup isn't necessarily a bad thing in the long run. It's not what he wanted, though, by any means.
"Who knows, in the next round of games we could have everybody fresh and lots of players that need and want games. I'm never going to say it's a good situation (to lose)," said Kreis.
With only 17 healthy players to choose from, and the chance for a sixth straight league victory on Saturday, Kreis put a mix of regulars and reserves into his starting 11. Following 60 scoreless minutes with a handful decent chances by both teams, Kreis made three aggressive, attacking-oriented changes.
By inserting Javier Morales, Fabian Espindola and May's MLS Player of the Month Alvaro Saborio into the match, Kreis wanted to go after the victory.
"It's not fair to say that was the plan, but being the situation it was in the 60th minute, OK, we go forward with what we did," said Kreis.
In the end, it was D.C. United that struck first in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot.
RSL rookie midfielder Collen Warner was whistled for a handball in the box, spoiling a fantastic one-on-one save by Reynish on Jordan Graye. The rebound, however, fell to Chris Pontius whose bicycle-kick attempt deflected off Warner's hand.
Luciano Emilio calmly buried the penalty for the 1-0 lead.
It didn't take Real Salt Lake long to find the equalizer though. In the 80th minute, Espindola's cross glanced off the arm of Barry Rice and the ref immediately pointed to the spot. Will Johnson took the penalty and kicked up the middle past Troy Perkins, who dove right, to level the score at 1-1.
In the final 10 minutes of regulation, Real Salt Lake had numerous half-chances to bury a winner, but it couldn't capitalize on the quality possession in the offensive third and was forced to play 30 more minutes in the heat.
In overtime, RSL outshot D.C. 8-3, but again couldn't find a winner.
United, which improved to 4-0-2 all-time against RSL at RFK Stadium, finally broke through in the 107th minute on a clear defensive breakdown. Both Johnson or Beltran could've easily closed down Najar in the penalty area, but a moment of indecision by both allowed him to slip between them for the easy goal.
RSL's best chance for an equalizer came from overtime substitute Luis Gil who had a shot cleared off the line in the 118th minute.
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.