Preview: RSL at Atlanta Silverbacks

Saturday's match to be streamed live on realsaltlake.com at 6

SANDY, Utah  – Real Salt Lake kicks off its participation in the 101st Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament on the road, taking on the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks in a fourth-round match at Atlanta Silverbacks Park at 6:00 p.m. MT on Saturday. The match will be streamed live on RealSaltLake.com and broadcast live on ESPN 700. ESPN700 will begin its pregame coverage at 5:00 p.m. MT and will air an hour-long postgame show starting immediately following the final whistle.

Real Salt Lake finished as the 2013 U.S. Open Cup runner-ups, falling 1-0 to D.C. United in the Final held at Rio Tinto Stadium on October 1, 2013. Reaching last year’s Final was the furthest the Claret-and-Cobalt had gone in the tournament, besting previous runs to the Quarterfinals in 2006 and 2011.

Saturday’s match between Real Salt Lake and Atlanta Silverbacks will be a rematch of RSL’s 2013 U.S. Open Cup opening game. The Claret-and-Cobalt defeated Atlanta 3-2 after extra time in a wild third-round match on May 28, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake took the lead through Captain Kyle Beckerman but allowed a late goal to send the match to extra time. RSL scored twice in the first period with goals from FW Devon Sandoval and former RSL MF Khari Stephenson to secure the win, but not without allowing a consolation goal in the final minutes of the second period. The Claret-and-Cobalt went on to defeat two additional lower division teams before besting MLS foe Portland Timbers 2-1 in the Semifinals on August 7, 2013 to reach the Final.

Real Salt Lake enters this year’s edition of the tournament 9-9-0 all-time in U.S. Open Cup Play, scoring 34 goals and conceding 33 in the tournament. RSL is 5-2-0 against lower division teams in Open Cup action, with both losses recorded against NASL side Minnesota United FC. Real Salt Lake currently has six members of its organization who, collectively, have won the Open Cup – MF Ned Grabavoy (LA Galaxy 2005), DF Abdoulie Mansally (New England Revolution, 2007), President Bill Manning (Brooklyn Italians, 1991), GM Garth Lagerwey, Head Coach Jeff Cassar (Dallas Burn, 1997), and Assistant Coach Andy Williams (Chicago Fire, 2003) – for a total of five Championship wins.

Real Salt Lake starts Open Cup play coming off one of its toughest stretches in MLS this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt played three games – two of them on the road – in eight days, posting a 0-2-1 record. Real Salt Lake suffered its first defeat of the year in a 4-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on May 31, drew Columbus Crew 1-1 at Crew Stadium on June 4 and fell 3-1 to Portland Timbers at home on June 7. Despite the recent results, RSL sits second in the Western Conference and third in the league, with a 6-2-7 record and total of 25 points.

The Claret-and-Cobalt will be without international stars Captain Kyle Beckerman, GK Nick Rimando and FW Alvaro Saborio. Beckerman and Rimando are currently with the U.S. National Team in Brazil preparing for the Americans’ first 2014 FIFA World Cup match against Ghana on Monday, June 16. Saborio was expected to be named to Costa Rica’s World Cup roster but fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during preparation camp two weeks ago and will miss the tournament. He is expected to be out 3-4 months.

The Atlanta Silverbacks, coached by former U.S. international Eric Wynalda, currently sit in eighth-place in the NASL standings with a 3-5-1 record so far this season. Silverbacks FW Jaime Chavez, leads the team and league in goals scored with five, and is coming off a two-goal performance against NASL side Indy Eleven. The Silverbacks have struggled defensively this year, conceding a total of 20 goals in nine games played.

If Real Salt Lake advances past Atlanta on Saturday, the Claret-and-Cobalt will go on the road again to face the winner of the Colorado Rapids-Orlando City Soccer Club matchup on Tuesday, June 24.

The winner of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be granted a berth in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League and awarded a $250,000 cash prize. 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. Alternate ways of qualifying for the 2015-16 Champions League are winning MLS Cup, claiming the Supporters’ Shield as the regular season points leader, and finishing first in the opposite MLS Conference of the Supporters’ Shield winner at the end of the regular season.

Recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Club Championship, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. This 2014 Open Cup is the 101st edition of the tournament and features a record 80 teams, an increase from the 68 that entered the field last year. The expansion results in both the largest number of amateur teams (42) in the tournament proper as well as the largest contingent of pro clubs (38), with all Division I, II and III professional clubs participating in the tournament for the third-straight year.

For more information on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup visit www.ussoccer.com or www.TheCup.us.

Real Salt Lake won’t return to MLS action until June 28, when it heads to California to take on Chivas USA at StubHub Center at 8:30 p.m. MT. The RSL-Chivas USA contest will be broadcast live on ABC 4, ESPN 700 and 102.3 La Gran D FM. RSL won’t return home until Friday, July 4 when it hosts New England Revolution at 8:00 p.m. Tickets to the RSL-New England contest 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 at Atlanta Silverbacks

  • Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. MT at Atlanta Silverbacks Park
  • TV: Live stream on RealSaltLake.com
  • English Radio: ESPN700 AM (Pregame begins at 5:00 p.m. MT)
  • Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide match updates

Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL-ATL Match Now Available Online

Following is the link to the Adobe PDF version of the MLS Game Guide in advance of Saturday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Atlanta Silverbacks. If you have any problems obtaining the document, would prefer to receive it as an attachment, or are seeking more information on the match, please contact PR Coordinator Jane Sexton in the RSL Communications Department via email at jsexton@realsaltlake.com.

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