Real Salt Lake started its U.S. Open Cup campaign with a 2-1 over the USL Seattle Sounders 2. Goals by RSL players Joao Plata and Javier Morales led an understaffed RSL to its first win of the tournament.
Seattle opened the scoring in stoppage time before the end of the first half after Sam Garza slotted in a goal on a tight angle. RSL responded 20 minutes later when Joao Plata fired in a shot from a Olmes Garcia pass. Seattle’s mistakenly picked up a back pass from his own team, a handball penalty which gave RSL a free kick in the penalty box 10 minutes later. Javier Morales threaded a shot through three defenders for RSL’s second goal.
While Plata and Morales continued to perform for RSL, the team was without usual starters Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman, who were still recovering from international duty. The team started was without most of its usual starters, but held its own throughout the game.
Once Morales was subbed in in the second half RSL’s attack began to come together. “He has quality and vision, he wanted to win, not just participate,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar.
Despite a frustratingly slow start, RSL’s second half performance showed that the team is capable of winning close games. “We had an increase in urgency and passion that just wasn’t there in the first half. Everyone stepped up, collectively,” said Cassar. “We came into the locker room, regrouped, and went out and played like we know how to play, hopefully this momentum carries into the next game,” said RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
Real Salt Lake next faces Sporting Kansas City at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sunday, June 21.