Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team have it all to play for on Thursday.
The U-20's take on Ghana in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Group A finale at 11:00 a.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN. A win would give the U.S. four points in the Group Stage, making them a virtual lock to qualify for the Knockout Stage. A tie and things become a bit muddied, with the U.S. - which would have only two points - needing major help from teams in Group E and Group F to qualify for the Knockout Stage as one of four third-place teams. The U.S. would be eliminated from the tournament with a loss. If you're so inclined, U.S. Soccer has a slightly more detailed breakdown here.
Gil has played every minute of the U-20 World Cup so far, scoring a goal in the U.S.'s 4-1 loss against Spain last Friday and setting up the U.S.'s strike in its 1-1 draw against France on Monday.
Real Salt Lake will look to advance one step closer to the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy on Wednesday night, when it will host a Quarterfinal match against the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Here are a few interesting storylines ahead of Wednesday’s match:
RSL looking to make history
RSL has never advanced to the Open Cup Semifinals. The Claret-and-Cobalt made the Quarterfinals in 2006 and 2011, losing 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids in 2006 and bowing out 2-0 to FC Dallas in the 2011 tournament.
A win on Wednesday would put RSL in the Open Cup Semifinal for the first time in club history, moving the team one step closer to the title and the CONCACAF Champions League berth that goes along with it.
Kreis gunning for win No. 100
RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis is looking for win No. 100 on Wednesday night. The Claret-and-Cobalt boss has 99 wins in all competitions since retiring as a player to take over the team in May 2007, posing a 83-65-50 record in the MLS regular season, a 4-5-5 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs, a 8-4-4 record in the CONCACAF Champions League and a 4-5-1 mark in the U.S. Open Cup.
Sandoval aiming for Open Cup milestone
Though he’s only played in two Open Cup games in his career, Real Salt Lake rookie forward Devon Sandoval could very well become the Claret-and-Cobalt’s all-time leading USOC scorer on Wednesday night.
The second-round pick in this year’s draft has three goals in RSL’s first two Open Cup matches, scoring once in the team’s May 28 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks and adding two in the team’s June 12 victory over the Charleston Battery. He’s tied for the all-time RSL lead in Open Cup goals with Captain Kyle Beckerman, Kreis and former RSL midfielder and current Head Scout Andy Williams.
Lengthy home stand coming to a close
Wednesday’s match is RSL’s seventh and final of its massive home stand. The Claret-and-Cobalt has dominated during its extended run at Rio Tinto Stadium, posting a 5-0-1 record in MLS and Open Cup play since the home stand began on May 25 against the Chicago Fire.
RSL will hit the road this Saturday, when it will take on Eastern Conference foe Toronto FC at BMO Field at 11:00 a.m. Due to FCC regulations, CW30 will broadcast the game on an hour-long tape delay beginning at 12:00 p.m. The Claret-and-Cobalt will return home following the Toronto match, taking on the Philadelphia Union in a fireworks game at 8:00 p.m. next Wednesday, July 3.
"It's a trophy. I want to win that. I want to win a trophy this year for our club, for our fans, for everyone. So why not put a bunch of emphasis on it? Why not make our stand in the Open Cup?"
Real Salt Lake is ready for tomorrow night's USOC Quarterfinal. Are you?
Good news RSL fans!
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) June 24, 2013
Come out on Wednesday night, eat a free hot dog and help RSL get one step closer to the Open Cup trophy and a return to the CONCACAF Champions League. Get your tickets here.
Real Salt Lake put in an incredibly professional performance on Saturday night against Seattle, bossing the game and beating the Sounders 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Here are a few interesting numbers from the match:
Real Salt Lake now has 30 points this season, tied with Portland for the most in MLS. The Claret-and-Cobalt – which, it’s worth noting, has played more games than most teams in the league – has more wins than Portland and is technically in first-place in the league.
Saturday’s win was RSL’s fifth straight across all competitions dating back to its 3-2 victory over the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third-round on May 28. RSL is now unbeaten in its last seven games across all competitions.
Real Salt Lake outshot Seattle by the ridiculous margin of 17-2 on Saturday. Sounders FC’s first shot didn’t come until the 73rd minute; the Cascadia club’s only shot on goal was in the 82nd.
RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman became MLS’s all-time leader in fouls committed on Saturday night. He now has 478 career fouls in regular season play, one more than previous record holder/former MLS midfielder Jesse Marsch.
The number of team’s remaining in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Real Salt Lake will look to move into the tournament’s final four on Wednesday night, when it will host the second-division Carolina RailHawks at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. Get your tickets here.
RSL midfielder Luis Gil started and played 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-1 draw against France in the U-20 World Cup on Monday.
Gil - who scored a fantastic goal in the Americans' 4-1 loss to Spain on Friday - was active again on Monday, sending in the set piece that led to the U.S.'s 85th minute goal and seeing a penalty kick saved earlier in the second half. The U.S. is now in third-place in Group A, one point ahead of last-place Ghana, which lost to France on Friday and takes on Spain at 11:00 a.m. MT on Monday. The U.S. will take on Ghana in its Group A finale on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. MT on ESPNU and WatchESPN.
The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four third-place sides in the tournament advance to the competition's Knockout Stage.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team will look to bounce back from Friday's 4-1 defeat to Spain in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Monday, when they'll take on France at 9 a.m. MT in Istanbul. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes.
The U.S. currently sits in last in Group A with 0 points, trailing third-place Ghana by one on goal differential. The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four third-place sides in the tournament advance to the competition's Knockout Stage.
Gil played well against Spain, looking sharp in all areas of the field and curling in a marvelous goal. The 19-year-old Southern California native and his U-20 teammates will wrap up the Group Stage on Thursday, when they take on Ghana at 11 a.m. MT.
Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC don't have the longest history, but - despite its relative brevity - the rivarly between the Claret-and-Cobalt and the Rave Green is full of great moments. Saturday's match between the two Western Conference powers figures to be another solid meeting. Until then, enjoy these four "Signature Moments" in the RSL-Seattle series.
March 30, 2013: Luis Gil scores a fantastic diving header in RSL's 2-1 win over Seattle at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Nov. 2, 2012: Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando turned in a performance for the ages in RSL's scoreless draw at Seattle in the first leg of the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals, making incredible stop after incredible stop - even after suffering a broken nose in the second half - to keep the clean sheet.
Nick had so many good stops in the game that we thought it'd be unfair to single out just one. The full highlights - featuring all of Rimando's fantastic stops - are below:
Nov. 2, 2011: Tony Beltran had one of the best goal-line clearances we've ever seen in the second leg of RSL's Western Conference Semifinal series against Seattle, acrobatically heading away a Jeff Parke volley to keep the game scoreless. The Claret-and-Cobalt went on to lose the match 2-0, but advance past Seattle and into the West Final 3-2 on aggregate.
Oct. 29, 2011: RSL ran rampant in the first leg of the 2011 West semis against Seattle, downing the Sounders 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium to take a hefty lead into the series' second leg. Alvaro Saborio had the first two goals for the Claret-and-Cobalt - his second was particulary impressive, with the Costa Rican striker showing just how skilled he is with an incredible back-heeled goal.
He didn't get the result he wanted, but Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil had a great game in the U.S. U-20's 4-1 loss to Spain in their FIFA U-20 World Cup opener on Friday, curling in a fantastic goal in the 77th minute and putting in the best performance of any American in the match.
Gil looked lively throughout, playing numerous gorgeous through balls, making dangerous on-the-ball runs and keeping his composure for the entire 90 minutes. His goal was an absolute thing of beauty, with the 19-year-old Southern California native curling a 24-yard left-footer past Spain's 'keeper and into the top right corner from just left of center.
Click here to see some (grainy) footage of Luis's goal. We'll try and update with higher quality video as soon as possible.
Update: Not sure how you could've read this far and missed it, but - just in case - check out Luis's goal up above. It's at the 3:37 mark.
MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek gave Saturday's Real Salt Lake-Seattle Sounders FC matchup the Scouting Report treatment. Give it a watch ahead of tomorrow's 7:30 p.m. kick at Rio Tinto Stadium.