Monday, June 4, 2012
Minnesota Stars stun RSL 3-1 in the U.S. Open Cup
(by Kira Terry ksl.com 5-30-12)
Despite high fan support, Real Salt Lake fell and was eliminated from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tuesday night as the Minnesota Stars notched a 3-1 win against RSL inside Rio Tinto Stadium.
“From Minute 1 to Minute 90 it looked like their team wanted it more than we did and we’ve been preaching the same message to our team for many, many years now, which is if they aren’t going to be fully committed to the game they will not get results. And tonight they came in about 75 percent and thought that was going to be good enough and it clearly was not,” said RSL coach Jason Kreis.
A whopping 17,212 fans came out to support RSL, but they didn’t see the same spirited play they saw just three days earlier when RSL took a stoppage-time win from MLS opponent FC Dallas.
“They just wanted to win more than we did, which is embarrassing,” said Kreis. “And I think we owe a debt of gratitude and apology to first and foremost our ownership and to the management for pulling strings and working extremely hard to get the match here. And we owe an apology to our fans because that was a terrific crowd tonight for an Open Cup match and we let them down miserably.”
RSL knew Minnesota would come hungry, but Kreis didn’t expect the effort level he saw in his roster. “At the end of it all I think the score is fair because the effort just wasn’t good enough,” said Kreis.
Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos on the other hand was nothing but proud of his squad and what it did inside Rio Tinto Stadium Tuesday night. He said the psychological side of a lower-level team playing a higher-level team did not sway his group.
“There is a psychological side to a lower-level team playing a higher-level team —there’s no doubt about it,” said Lagos. “I can’t be more proud of the guys because we came into an environment that is very difficult to play where (RSL) usually dictates the tempo and I thought our guys did a good job of embracing the moment but not overthinking or analyzing it and really trying to enjoy it and push the game. And that’s a nice feeling because this is a tough place to play so it was nice to see the guys really put themselves out there.”
With four RSL regulars missing due to international duty and another called up earlier Tuesday, the RSL Starting 11 looked quite different Tuesday night with many young players.
However, they didn’t mesh well.
“There’s a complete different mix of players here that need to prove every day that they can help this team win so we have to see it from top guys all the way down to the guys that are depth,” said RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy.
RSL will remain on MLS break for another two-and-a-half weeks until returning to action at the Home Depot Center June 16 against Chivas USA. RSL will then return to Rio Tinto to host the L.A. Galaxy on June 20.