REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake Crawl Into Fourth Round Of U.S. Open Cup
Apr 26, 2023, 10:41 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2023, 11:18 am
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake relied on a Damir Kreilach extra-time brace to beat USL Championship side Las Vegas Knights and advance in the U.S. Open Cup.
Manager Pablo Mastroeni was forced to play a different lineup from that of three days ago which resulted in a 3-1 victory against San Jose.
The Real Salt Lake Lineup
Gavin Beavers started in goal, Erik Holt, Justen Glad, and Delentz Pierre played across the backline. Braian Ojeda, Pablo Ruiz, Emeka Eneli, Diego Luna, and Maikel Chang were the midfield pairings while Damir Kreilach and Ilijah Paul started at the point of the attack.
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For the first time in 2023, Mastroeni utilized a 3-5-2 shape. Interestingly, Marcelo Silva, Jasper Löffelsend, Jefferson Savarino, and Rubio Rubin did not travel with the team.
Poor Start To The U.S. Open Cup
The opening half was poor for Real Salt Lake as they struggled to adapt to the intensity of Las Vegas. The Lights, however, also failed to create opportunities of their own. In the final seconds of the half, Las Vegas crossed a ball into the area that caught Beavers off guard and ricocheted off the woodwork.
Mastroeni made no changes at halftime but was quick to make moves in the second half when he pulled Justen Glad and Maikel Chang for Bode Hidalgo and Bryan Oviedo.
For the second time in the game, the Lights hit the woodwork catching Beavers off his line from a wide free kick.
The Lights entered the second half with momentum and came close to scoring the opening goal of the game when Erick Torres wrapped his left foot around the ball and came within inches of finding the far post.
Real Salt Lake began creating chances. Their first big opportunity came in the 73rd minute when Kreilach’s left-footed strike was saved by Leo Diaz diving to his right.
The match concluded at 0-0 following minutes of Las Vegas peppering the Real Salt Lake goal.
At the conclusion of the 90 minutes, Real Salt Lake boasted 57% of the possession while managing just one more shot than the Lights with 18. Despite the high shot tally, neither side was able to generate a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity.
That changed six minutes into extra time when Lights striker Azriel Gonzalez was denied by an outstretched Beavers in a one-on-one position.
Real Salt Lake should have scored in the 100th minute when Kreilach poked his attempt over the crossbar despite being just six yards from goal. The chance was created when Chang played a cheeky ball into Kreilach from a set piece.
Chaotic Extra Time
The breakthrough finally came with the final kick of the first half of extra time when Kreilach got on the end of a corner and buried his header into the bottom right corner of the net. The assist came from Bertin Jacquesson.
The lead should have doubled when Jacquesson missed his one-on-one opportunity wide of the left post in the 110th minute.
The missed opportunity by Jacquesson cost Real Salt Lake when the Knight’s star man found the equalizer in the 112th minute. Right back Luke Stauffer, who leads the Lights in goals and assists with two on the USL Championship season, sent Chang flying before squeezing his shot into the bottom left corner of the net after a deflection on the way.
Kreilach saved Real Salt Lake again when he found the game-winner in the 116th minute after he taped the ball into the back of the net following an Andres Gomez assist that put it on a platter for the Real Salt Lake captain.
The cherry came when Danny Musovski got on the end of a saved shot and found the back of the net to secure the victory.
Real Salt Lake will wait until April 27 to hear of their fourth-round U.S. Open opponent.
Their next MLS fixture is this upcoming Saturday, April 29, when they host Seattle Sounders at America First Field.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast via Apple TV and will be heard on the radio via the KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM & 1280 AM).
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