Tom Smart, Deseret News
SANDY — Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis didn't want to think about the logistics of a 17-day break between games prior to Tuesday, but now he has to.
With Tuesday's surprising 3-1 loss to lower-division Minnesota, RSL has been eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup and doesn't play another league match until June 16 when it travels to Chivas USA.
Had RSL taken care of business at home against Minnesota, it would have another match next week against San Jose in the Open Cup fourth round.
Instead, as Kreis put it, "I've said this once before in my coaching career and I'll say it know, I would not want to be a player under me right now," he said.
Over the next 17 days, Kreis has scheduled training sessions on 12 of those days. One of those days is a Reserve League game against Chicago on June 12.
TANAKA STRUGGLES: Three days after his solid performance in his rare start against FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake outside back Terakazu Tanaka cracked the starting line-up again, but this time really struggled.
After what Kreis described as a tired player who didn't look sharp, he replaced Tanaka at halftime with Tony Beltran.
"I thought he was struggling to find the game. The ball was there for him a lot to make better decisions with the ball going forward and he wasn't' getting it done and then he looked a little bit hamstrung defensively as well," said Kreis.
TOO HOBBLED: Kreis vowed to put his best line-up available on the field on Tuesday. Unfortunately for RSL, Fabian Espindola wasn't in those plans.
He injured his left calf against FC Dallas, and just wasn't a realistic option to play against Minnesota.
"I was hoping he'd come healthy today to play 15 or 20 minutes, but talking to him and trainer before the game. It was literally if we wanted to use him we were risking losing him for a long time, I just wasn't prepared to take that risk, certainly not when we were two goals down," said Kreis.
BANGED UP: Yordany Alvarez's departure from the game in the 53rd minute was of an injury substitution not a tactical one as the defensive midfielder injured his left hamstring during the match.
OUT IN FULL FORCE: Excluding championship matches, Tuesday's attendance at Rio Tinto Stadium of 17,212 was the largest crowd in U.S. Open Cup history.
Afterward, RSL's players and coaches expressed the appreciation for the support, and apologized as well
"We owe an apology to our fans cause that was a terrific crowd for an Open Cup match and we let them down," said Kreis.
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