Real Salt Lake kept relentless pressure on the Seattle Sounders for nearly the entire U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium, but ended up falling to Seattle in penalty kicks.
SANDY—Real Salt Lake kept relentless pressure on the Seattle Sounders for nearly the entire U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium, but ended up falling to Seattle in penalty kicks.
The score after regulation and 30 minutes of extra time held at 1-1, and Seattle clinched a spot in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals after outscoring RSL 4-1 on PKs.
RSL got on the board first when Yura Movsisyan received a pass in stride from Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez, and was pushed down inside the 18-yard box, earning RSL a penalty kick.
Seattle struck in the 52nd minute when defender Justen Glad tried to head down a ball adjacent to RSL keeper Jeff Attinella at the top of the 18-yard box, but missed and stumbled, allowing Seattle forward Nelson Valdez to casually nudge the ball into the back of RSL’s net, tying the game at 1-1.
With the crowd of 17, 087 in frustrated silence, Seattle celebrated the gift goal while Glad laid on the turf with hands to his face, on the receiving end of shouting from an upset Attinella.
Head coach Jeff Cassar was positive in his postgame press conference about the incident as well as Attinella’s and Glad’s mental recovery, but noted, “That can’t happen. It’s a very unearned goal. If you want to win championships and trophies, you can’t be giving up goals like that.”
The struggling Sounders were without star forward Clint Dempsey, who had wrapped up Copa América tournament play with the United States Men’s National Team (along with RSL captain midfielder Kyle Beckerman), but is currently serving a two-year suspension from U.S. Open Cup play.
Already the worst scoring offense in Major League Soccer, and without Dempsey, Seattle opted for defense-heavy tactics, often keeping all eleven players behind the ball.
After Seattle’s goal, RSL immediately responded multiple times with offensive pressure headed up by Movsisyan, but were unable to capitalize. Later, in the dying moments of the match, RSL had a handful of promising offensive pushes, but mishits kept the score tied at the end of 90 minutes of play.
RSL had two open looks at the goal late in play when Jordan Allen crossed a ball to Martinez, only to be hit straight up and away from danger for Seattle. In the second period of extra time, Javier Morales cut through the left side of the Sounders defense in the 18-yard box, but hit his shot wide right of the goal.
Despite the result, Cassar was positive about his team’s play. “I’m not disappointed in the way we played at all,” he said. “I think if we play like that, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Seattle will play the winner of Wednesday night’s game between the LA Galaxy and the Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup.
Jeff Cassar Postgame:
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