RSL Bows Out Of U.S. Open Cup With Loss To LAFC
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake’s hopes at advancing in the U.S. Open Cup were dashed with a 3-0 home loss to LAFC.
Luckily for RSL, this loss, the team’s third straight, won’t count in the MLS standings and some young players got some valuable experience against the best club in Major League Soccer.
Without the help of Albert Rusnak and Jefferson Savarino, who were away on international duty for their respective countries, and head coach Mike Petke, who was in Minnesota to receive mandatory coaching certification, RSL struggled greatly at times.
RSL Struggles All Night
The passing was poor, the home team looked sluggish at times and the visiting club was able to ascertain its will just enough to get a three goal victory that really felt much greater.
LAFC, which has been dominating the MLS all season, flexed its muscles early in the match when the league’s leading scorer, Carlos Vela, found the back of the net in the eighth minute.
The play was set up quickly as Vela took a decently long pass that came from the center of the pitch, took a dribble or two and unleashed a shot just as he entered the right side of the box. So far this year, Vela has an absolutely stunning number of strikes in MLS play with 16 goals. LAFC is a good club overall, and Vela is the engine that drives the machine.
After Vela’s goal legendary RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando did everything he could in the first half to keep his team close. He made a couple of really nice saves to keep the deficit at just one goal at the end of the half.
While RSL didn’t have many chances at a goal, the ones the team did have were really nice. Corey Baird had a close shot on frame in the 25th minute and Marcelo Silva had a nice header on a free kick that sailed over the net in the 80th minute. The best attempt of the night, however, belonged to Tate Schmitt, who usually plays with the Real Monarchs. His back door attempt looked destined for the net, but LAFC’s Pablo Sisniega came up with a nice kick save to prevent the goal.
Almost immediately after Sisniega’s save, LAFC almost immediately came down and scored the insurance goal on a boot by Lee Nguyen in a one-on-one with Rimando. That goal, which looked fairly quick and easy, was emblematic of the evening for RSL. The Claret and Cobalt worked all night for that attempt at a goal but LAFC simply took charge and had their way.
LAFC’s Adama Diomande put the punctuation on the win with a goal on a rebounded free kick in the 90th minute.
With the loss, RSL’s bid at the U.S. Open Cup championship ends in the fourth round. The club’s best finish in the country’s oldest soccer tournament remains 2013’s second place finish.
RSL’s next match will be at the Chicago Fire on June 22 at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on KSLSports.com or on the KSL TV app.