Preview: RSL v. Portland Timbers

RSL to take on Timbers with spot in USOC Final on the line

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will continue its quest for the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, when it will host the Portland Timbers in an Open Cup Semifinal at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The winner of Wednesday’s match will host the 2013 Open Cup Final against the winner of Wednesday’s Chicago Fire-D.C. United Semifinal. Should RSL advance, it would host the final at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Wednesday’s match is not included in the Real Salt Lake 2013 season ticket package. Seats are still available for the game and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at http://www.riotintostadium.com/events/open-cup.php or over the phone at 801-727-2700. The game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM/1600 AM.

RSL beat the second-division Carolina RailHawks 3-0 in the Open Cup Quarterfinals at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 26 to advance to Wednesday’s semifinal contest against Portland. The Claret-and-Cobalt got goals from DF Tony Beltran, DF Chris Wingert and FW Alvaro Saborio to cruise to an easy victory over the RailHawks.

Real Salt Lake tied its last match, getting goals from MF Ned Grabavoy and Saborio to draw the Colorado Rapids 2-2 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. While RSL lost the 2013 Rocky Mountain Cup Presented by Mark Miller Subaru with the result, the draw did snap a two-game losing streak that saw the Claret-and-Cobalt give up game-winning goals in second half stoppage time in consecutive matches.

RSL will be bolstered on Wednesday by the return to the lineup of Beltran and Wingert. The solid outside back duo hasn’t played together since the June 26 win over Carolina, with Beltran on international duty for all of July and both suspended for Saturday’s draw at Colorado.

Beltran, Wingert and the rest of their RSL teammates will need to turn in a fine performance on Wednesday if the Claret-and-Cobalt is to advance past the resurgent Timbers, which currently sit in second-place in the Western Conference – just three points behind firsts-place RSL – with an 8-3-11 record. Portland has flourished under first-year head coach Caleb Porter and captain – and former RSL man – Will Johnson, second only to RSL in MLS in goal differential.

Wednesday’s match will be Johnson’s first trip back to Rio Tinto Stadium since he was traded from RSL to the Timbers this offseason. The Canadian international spent parts of five seasons with the Claret-and-Cobalt, making 120 appearances and helping the Utah side to the 2009 MLS Cup title and 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Final.

Wednesday’s contest will also be the first of three RSL-Timbers games that will be played in August. The Claret-and-Cobalt will travel to Portland to take on the Timbers on Wednesday, Aug. 21 before hosting the Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday, Aug. 30.

The winner of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be granted a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. 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. 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. The tournament’s 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.

RSL will have a quick turnaround following Wednesday’s game, returning to MLS action on Saturday, when it will host the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets are available for Saturday’s match 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.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake v. Portland Timbers

  • Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah
  • TV: CW30
  • English Radio: ESPN700 AM (Pregame begins at 6:00 p.m. MT)
  • Spanish Radio: La Gran D 102.3 FM & Juan 1600 AM
  • Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide live match updates

Game Guide for Wednesday’s RSL-POR Match Now Available Online

Click here to download the PDF version of the MLS Game Guide for Wednesday’s RSL-POR matchup

RSL Open Cup History

Real Salt Lake is 7-8-0 all-time in Open Cup action, scoring 27 goals and conceding 29 in its 15 games in the tournament. The Claret-and-Cobalt has never met Portland in the Open Cup and has never before advanced this far in the tournament.

RSL’s previous best Open Cup finishes came in 2006 and 2011, when the team advanced to the Quarterfinals before being bounced by MLS Western Conference rivals the Colorado Rapids 2-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2006 and FC Dallas 2-0 at Pizza Hut Park in 2011.