Preview: RSL v. Atlanta SIlverbacks

RSL set to start 2013 U.S. Open Cup campaign against Atlanta

SANDY, Utah  – Real Salt Lake kicks off its participation in the 100th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tourney, hosting the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks in a third-round match at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT tomorrow, May 28.  The May 28 U.S. Open Cup match is included in the Real Salt Lake 2013 season ticket package as Bonus Game A. RSL “PRIDE” Season Ticket Holders can purchase additional seats to the match for $10. Tickets to the general public are currently on sale and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700. Visit www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets for more details on the special pricing for tickets to the match.
 
A year ago, RSL was bounced out of the Open Cup in the third round, losing 3-1 to the NASL’s Minnesota Stars in front of a record-setting crowd of 17,212 at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 29, 2012, in what RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis has called the organization’s “most embarrassing moment.”  The Claret-and-Cobalt’s best Open Cup finishes came in 2006 and 2011, when the Utah side advanced to the Quarterfinals of the tournament.
Real Salt Lake enters this year’s tourney 5-8-0 all-time in U.S. Open Cup play, scoring 21 goals and conceding 27 in the tournament. RSL is 2-2-0 against lower division teams in Open Cup action, with both losses coming against Minnesota. Members of the Claret-and-Cobalt have had success in the Open Cup away from RSL, with two players – MF Ned Grabavoy (LA 2005) and DF Kenny Mansally (NE 2007) – and five members of the technical staff (GM Garth Lagerwey, Head Coach Jason Kreis, Assistant Coach Jeff Cassar, all with the 1997 Dallas Burn; four-time winner Assistant Coach C.J. Brown and Head Scout Andy Williams, both with the Chicago Fire) lifting the Dewar Cup a combined 10 times while with other teams.
A week ago, Atlanta defeated the NPSL Georgia Revolution, 3-2, as the Silverbacks – led by Head Coach Brian Haynes, a teammate of Lagerwey, Kreis and Cassar on that 1997 Open Cup champion Dallas Burn team – rode the efforts of former MLS players Mike Randolph (LA Galaxy) and Ruben Luna (FC Dallas) to victory. The Technical Director and Assistant Coach for Atlanta is U.S. Soccer legend Eric Wynalda, author of the first-ever goal in MLS history, the second-leading scorer in U.S. Men’s National Team history and currently the outspoken analyst for Fox Soccer.
The winner of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be granted a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament. Real Salt Lake competed in the 2010-11 and the 2012-13 editions of the CCL, becoming the first – and still only – MLS club to reach the final in 2011 before falling out of the continental tournament in the Group Stage last October. Participation in MLS Cup 2013 and claiming the MLS Supporters’ Shield as the regular season points leader would provide alternate routes for qualification into the 2014-15 CCL.
Now in its 100th year of competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup is an annual, single-elimination competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. This year’s tournament proper kicked off on Tuesday with 15 first-round matches contested across the country, with 11 of those games won by the home side. The tournament's 16 winners from tonight and Wednesday, May 22 are set to meet the 16 American MLS sides in the third-round next week, on May 28 and 29. The U.S. Open Cup fourth-round will be held on June 12, followed by the Quarterfinals on June 26, the Semifinals on Aug. 7 or 21 and the Final on Oct. 1 or 2.
Along with a berth into the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winner will receive a $250,000 cash prize from U.S. Soccer. The runner-up will collect $60,000 and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division league will win $15,000.
For more information on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including a full list of all third-round matchups and possible fourth-round pairings, visit www.USsoccer.com or www.TheCup.us.

Real Salt Lake (6-5-3, 21 points, West #3) hosts Atlanta in the midst of a critical four-game MLS homestand spanning May 25 – June 22, which began with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Chicago on Saturday. RSL hosts a trio of Western Conference rivals in the coming weeks, starting this Saturday with the 2012 MLS Supporters Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes and continuing June 8 against Landon DonovanRobbie Rogers and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The crucial home stretch ends on Sat., June 22 with the second 2013 visit by the team RSL faced in both the 2011 and 2012 MLS Western Conference Semifinals, Seattle Sounders FC.
Should RSL advance past Atlanta on Tuesday, it will host another Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday, June 12, this time in the Round of 32 against tomorrow’s winner of the San Jose (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL PRO).
Rio Tinto Stadium will also host a critical United States Men's National Team World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday, June 18, the U.S. and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando welcoming Honduras to Utah. That match sold out a month ago in less than 24 hours, but fans who are shut out are lucky to live in the shadow of Rio Tinto Stadium, as the venue is the lone one to host the U.S. twice this season, with Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT coming back on Sat., July 13 in a Gold Cup group match against Cuba, the first leg of a same-day doubleheader also featuring RSL FW Alvaro Saborio’s Costa Rica side against Belize.