On Saturday night at Dallas many fans were shocked as the RSL lineup looked more like a Monarchs starting XI than RSL’s but with a busy schedule the changes provided some guys to rest, while younger players got a chance to make their case for more attention and minutes. That busier schedule includes the US Open Cup match on Tuesday against the Seattle Sounders, the winner will need just 3 more wins to claim a trophy and CCL spot.
The Sounders are tied with the Chicago Fire as 4 time winners of the US Open Cup with wins in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2014, and lost to SKC in the finals of the 2012 version. So there is no doubt that Seattle takes this tournament seriously, they have struggled in their attempt to win other trophies, so this one holds a special place for them and their fans.
Real Salt Lake has made two serious runs at the US Open Cup, in 2013 they leveraged a favorable home schedule to make it to the finals before losing to DC United 1-0 in the final. Last year the team made it to the semifinals before losing to Sporting KC, who would eventually lift the trophy as tournament winners.
With almost every starter rested last weekend we should expect a very veteran heavy lineup, both to secure the win without the need for extra time or PK’s. RSL generally does well in Open Cup matches at home, they won all 3 of their matches at Rio Tinto last year in their run to the semifinals, and 4 of their 5 home matches in 2013 losing only the final. RSL has had a habit in USOC matches of giving up the first goal, or two and we saw that against Wilmington where we spotted them two goals before forcing extra time and PK’s to claim the win.
The Sounders are a team that has struggled so far this year in MLS action but they are a club that has used the US Open Cup in the past to find their form and help them win cups and boost their MLS records as well. They will be without Clint Dempsey who is still suspended for the notebook incident in last years tournament. Google it if you don’t know what I am talking about. So after this match the Sounders will head to Toronto for a MLS match on Saturday, then back home for a friendly with West Ham United on July, 5th and then a home match vs the Galaxy on Saturday. So a busy schedule has me believing we may see Seattle go with some of their younger guys, but as RSL has seen in the past that doesn’t mean much.
This is a match that clearly the RSL staff wants to win, and while I would expect a top lineup, one has to wonder if the heat might change how long or how many those top players will play, the forecast is for temps over 100 on Tuesday but I would expect that to drop into the low 90’s by match time. Still the heat should provide RSL with an advantage given our familiarity with it, along with playing at elevation. So this makes predicting that match tough but there are a few things we should look for:
- RSL will likely have the more experienced/talented lineup for the match which should play to our advantage.
- RSL must start strong, giving up goals against lower division teams and coming back is one thing, doing it against MLS teams is more difficult (despite the fact RSL has done so 4 times in MLS action)
- Finishing the match in regulation is huge, the weather is going to be hot and the turnaround to a Friday match against DC United is already short, so adding 30 plus minutes of play isn’t something RSL needs to do.
- 3 wins to a trophy, 3 wins to CCL, 3 wins to more allocation money.
This should be a 2-0 RSL win, but again without knowing what lineups either side are likely to play, predicting is hard but without Dempsey and with a hard fought home loss against New York City FC last weekend, RSL needs to start fast, play hard and get the win.
That’s How I See It