Tag Archive for US Open Cup

Real Salt Lake look to continue US Open Cup run vs Seattle

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.

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Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action by hosting Portland

A break in the season is always a nice thing for both fans and players, but the schedule Real Salt lake faces in the next 6 weeks is brutal, with 9 MLS matches (6 at home), at least one US Open Cup match (vs Seattle) and a friendly with Inter Milan tossed in, that is 11 matches before the end of July.

With 13 matches played, RSL is sitting in a solid 3 place in the Western Conference with matches in hand against everyone except LA and Seattle. Their 23 points is actually gives them the second best points per match average in the league with 1.77 despite playing 9 of 13 on the road. The Timbers come in after the break needing to improve their form, after 15 matches they are on just 19 points with a 5-6-4 record and without a single win on the road.  The defending MLS champs know it is about how you play at the end of the season, but with a very competitive Western conference you don’t want to dig too deep of a hole to climb out of.

These two teams faced off early in the MLS season at Portland in one of those matches where RSL started great and had a two goal lead but with being a man down after a 31st minute red card to Kyle Beckerman, the Timbers got back a goal in the 79th minute and then RSL went down to 9 men as Jamison Olave picked up a red card in the 83rd minute on a foul that gave Portland a PK as well and lead to them leveling the match.  One could say RSL was lucky to get out of there with a draw but I considered it one of the matches were RSL left points on the pitch after a late meltdown. Now the two familiar foes will face off once again on Saturday night, in what should be an exciting match.

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Real Salt Lake, Disappoint, Thrill, and Excite in US Open Cup action

So in a match that on paper RSL should have had no struggles with they did as for the 3rd straight time hosting a lower division team in US Open Cup action, RSL gave up the first goal, and for the second time in those 3 matches they spotted their opponents a two goal lead.  I get that we often see RSL go with a mixed lineup of players, with some bench or reserve guys getting minutes and that can lead to a disruption of the normal chemistry, but there is still little excuse in giving up the first goal in matches like this.

RSL’s starting lineup was: Jeff Attinella, Boyd Okwuonu, Jamison Olave, Aaron Maund, Chris Wingert, Luke Mulholland, John Stertzer, Burrito, Javier Morales, Jordan Allen and Devon Sandoval

There simply is no reason why this group was unable to be successful against a decent Wilmington side, but the failure to use our width and little success getting the ball into dangerous places simply was disappointing.  Clearly the Hammerheads had studied up on RSL and they knew how to disrupt our passing lanes and were good at knowing when to apply pressure and where. Too often Burrito was forced back into the midfield to help out, Jordan Allen saw the ball too infrequently and when Devon would hold the ball up, few others got into positions to support the attack.  All of this left RSL with limited chances in the first half, mainly set piece efforts and shots from distance.

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Real Salt Lake ready for US Open Cup action vs Wilmington

It is often repeated but nothing can be more straight forward for RSL, the easiest and most direct path to CONCACAF is to win the US Open Cup.  RSL will again start a bid to win the USOC on Tuesday night as they host the USL side Wilmington Hammerheads.

No matter what lineup RSL puts out for the match people will ask questions, should we rest starters with a big match with Portland on Saturday, or with 12 days off should all players be ready to go?  I would like to see RSL go with as many starters as possible, with almost two weeks off making sure players are sharp and ready for a very busy couple months with 11 matches before the end of July.  That busy schedule could be why Jeff Cassar goes with a mixed lineup to get some of the bench guys minutes as it is likely they will be needed to fill in during the busy schedule.

Wilmington brings in a team that has struggled in USL action with just 16 points in 12 matches, their top scorer is Bruno Peone, which is a bit odd given he is listed as a defender.  They are a balanced team with 15 goals scored and 13 goals allowed for a plus 2 goal differential.  RSL is sitting with a similar +2 goal differential with 23 goals scored and 21 allowed in their 13 MLS matches.

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Real Salt Lake has a lot of questions heading into 2016 season

The first MLS event of the new year is the MLS Draft, that will take place on Jan 14th in Baltimore and the questions for RSL heading is simple:

How to rebound from a disappointing 2015? The worst year for the team since 2007 left fans wondering what happened. In a single season RSL went from a +15 goal differential and finishing 3rd in the West and 4th place overall in MLS to a -10 and a 9th place finish in the West, 16th overall.  Offense was down as RSL scored just 38 goals, our defense gave up 48 goals our highest number since 2006.  Missing the playoff for the first time since the move to Rio Tinto in 2008, what was the longest streak in MLS.  Also gone was the 5 year streak of 15 wins and 50 points, what I consider the new gold standard for MLS regular season success.  The one positive (for most) in the 2015 season was qualifying for the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, which provides RSL with a bit more allocation money and pressure to try to once again make a run at being the first MLS team to win it all.

To recover from that disappointing season will require RSL to become dominant at home again, a 7-4-6 record at home is simply unacceptable. It will have to start with offense, just 22 goals scored by RSL at home which is down 11 from the 2014 season.  RSL seems to have addressed this issue with the soon to be announced signing of Yura Movsisyan back to RSL. Also boosting the RSL offense should be a healthy Joao Plata who saw his 2015 minutes drop by over 500 from the 2014 season.  Another boost should come from Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez having a full preseason with RSL, we saw the glimpses of what he could bring to the table, now we need him to deliver a full portion.

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Why the US Open Cup matters, and matters so much to Real Salt Lake

Tuesday night Real Salt Lake will play the second most important match they have ever played at Rio Tinto Stadium, the 2011 CCL final was the most important.  This will be the third time RSL will be able to lift a trophy at home, they failed in their two previous attempts (2008 Western Conference Final & 2011 Champions League Final).  Of course it is funny how some people don’t put much weight behind the US Open Cup, saying that MLS teams rarely take it seriously, that US Soccer doesn’t really care about the tournament, but it is kinda strange when you compare the realities to those statements.

5 years ago I would have agreed that most MLS teams dialed it in when it came to the US Open Cup, the format changed often and it was hard to get fans interested in it.  Then came back to back to back titles by the Seattle Sounders, who showed that it was the easiest path to Champions League.  Last year more teams put out top lineups and the final between Sporting KC and Seattle was played before 18,000 plus fans and saw SKC win in a PK shootout.  This year we saw more teams (not all) put serious effort into US Open Cup, it sure was the case for RSL.

In the first Open Cup match for RSL, they put out a mixed lineup (Saunders, Palmer, Watson-Siriboe, Salcedo, Wingert, Morales, Alvarez, Velasquez, Beckerman, Sandoval, and Findley) and used all 3 subs (Plata, Grabavoy, Stephenson).  It took RSL extra time to get their 3-2 win over Atlanta, but clearly showed that the team was going to take the tournament seriously.  The second match for RSL was against Charleston again saw a very experienced lineup used (Saunders, Wingert, Maund, Borchers, Beltran, Velasquez, Beckerman, Morales, Grabavoy, Garcia, Sandoval – subs Stephenson, Plata, and Findley) and again it took 120 minutes for RSL to secure their 5-2 win.

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US Open Cup final tickets go on sale Tomorrow (8-15-13)

This one doesn’t need much more than me just posting the press release, you know how big the US Open Cup is, you know that you want to be there to be able to see our team play on our pitch for a trophy, this has only happened once before when we played for the CONCACAF Champions League trophy.  Winning this match will mean a trophy and a chance to once again to compete for that CCL trophy as well.

TICKETS ON SALE THURSDAY FOR
OCT. 1 REAL SALT LAKE–DC UNITED LAMAR HUNT US OPEN CUP FINAL
AT RIO TINTO STADIUM

RSL Season Ticket Holders Have Exclusive Window to Purchase Seats & Unlimited Extras until August 31; General Public On-Sale Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. MT

SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, August 14, 2013) – 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 TOMORROWThursday, 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.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets 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 weeks 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).

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Real Salt Lake faces the Charleston Battery in the 4th round of the US Open Cup

Wednesday evening Real Salt Lake will play host to USL Pro side the Charleston Battery in US Open Cup action, this fourth round match will determine who moves on to host a quarterfinal match up in two weeks.  This is one of those matches that the MLS side should win, and with a 10 day break before their next match Real Salt Lake should be able to put our their top notch lineup, now I think a couple of guys like Sebastian Velasquez, Olmes Garcia, and Lovel Palmer might push their way into the starting lineup, as RSL head coach Jason Kreis has a number of great options who have stepped up at every level they have been asked to.

It would be easy for us to think that Charleston doesn’t pose a real threat but you should know that, they have beaten 9 MLS sides in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup; DC United (1999), MetroStars (2001, 2004), Houston Dynamo (2007, 2008), FC Dallas (2008), Chivas USA (2009), Chicago Fire (2010) and San Jose Earthquakes (2013).  You can also add in their preseason matches which often feature MLS opponents, this year one of those matches was a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. A quick look at their roster shows that they have some size that RSL will have to deal with, 8 players 6’0″ or better without counting keepers.  They also have some guys with time or trials in MLS:

  • Amadou Sanyang – has spent time with Toronto FC and Seattle
  • Ben Fisk – time with the Vancouver Whitecaps developmental team
  • Jarad van Schaik – who was drafted by RSL but never made the roster

The Battery are currently in 3rd place in USL Pro with a record of 7-3-2 with 22 goals scored and 13 goals allowed.

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Two down for Real Salt Lake, four more to go in June?

Well I said it several weeks ago that June could be the most important month of the season for Real Salt Lake.  With three huge Western Conference league matches at home, all against 2012 playoff teams it was critical that RSL get as many points as possible.  San Jose and the LA Galaxy both found themselves on the wrong end of the final score this month, and final days of RSL advanced past the Atlanta Silverbacks, even if it did take and extra 30 minutes.  In each of these matches RSL showed that they can score goals even without Alvaro Saborio in the lineup, something that was an issue last year, by scoring 3 goals in each of their wins.

Now RSL faces a few new challenges as they look to finish out the month of June, first up is another US Open Cup match, again at home, as the Charleston Battery (who eliminated the San Jose Earthquakes) will come to town on June 12th for a 7:30pm showdown.  This is another match that on paper a MLS should win every time, but as we saw in the last round, none of these matches are easy and you must fight for every result.  RSL head coach Jason Kreis says that his team is focused on the US Open Cup more this year than ever before and it is something the players want to win as well.  If the team needed any extra motivation, a win on Wednesday will set them up for another home match (June 26th) a match that would feature the winner of Chivas USA vs. Carolina RailHawks vs. the winner of the RSL/Battery match.

Should RSL win it would set up a really busy week to end the month of June, on the 22nd the Seattle Sounders will come to Rio Tinto Stadium for the second time this season, and both teams are in top form right now, with 6-2-2 records in their last 10 matches.  For the Sounders an unusual early round departure from the US Open Cup and not being in the Champions League this fall, has left them to focus on league matches and they are doing just that.

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For Real Salt Lake, June could hold the key to the season

Starting on Saturday,  June 1st Real Salt Lake will face the San Jose Earthquakes, the 2013 Supporter’s Shield winner, at Rio Tinto Stadium it is the first of 4 MLS matches they will play in June.  Three of those matches will be played at home, after hosting San Jose, the defending MLS Cup Champions will come to town on June 8th and while the Galaxy will be missing a few players on National team duty, so will RSL.  RSL will be looking for some revenge for the 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Galaxy earlier this season at Rio Tinto Stadium.

During the World Cup qualifying break RSL will play host to the Charleston Battery in the 4th round of the US Open Cup, a match that RSL will need to win if their plans of hoisting the US Open Cup and using it to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.  RSL advanced to the 4th round via a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks, a match that required a pair of extra time goals to advance.  I expect the team will be up for the match, as it will lead into a 10 day break for the players.

RSL will then pick up the MLS schedule on June 22nd when the Seattle Sounders come to town for their second visit of the year, the first match saw RSL pick up a 2-1 victory, which while nice was far from satisfying after the loss to the Sounders in last year’s playoffs.  This match will end the trifecta of home matches against Western Conference foes, all three of which made the playoffs last year.  After the disappointment of giving up a late goal to the Chicago Fire last weekend, which forced a 1-1 draw, the goal of getting 10 points from the 4 match homestand became a bit more difficult but still something within the range of possibilities.

A bit more detail about each of the June matches:

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