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RSL report card: Salt Lake gets even-keel effort from all over the pitch in USOC win

Published: Wednesday, May 29 2013 12:30 a.m. MDT

Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert (17) heads the ball back into the center of the pitch as Real Salt Lake and the Atlanta Silverbacks play Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Rio Tinto Stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert (17) heads the ball back into the center of the pitch as Real Salt Lake and the Atlanta Silverbacks play Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Rio Tinto Stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Real Salt Lake came into its U.S. Open match against the Atlanta Silverbacks on Tuesday with the specter of last year's loss to the Minnesota Stars looming in the background. This year was a different story, however.

Real Salt Lake scored early, conceded late and scored two goals in overtime to win 3-2 and advance to the next round of Open Cup play.

All time, Real Salt lake is 6-8 in U.S. Open Cup play. Tuesday's extra-time win was more evidence that competing against teams from the lower divisions of American soccer is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one.

"I think there was a little complacency," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "That's a very good team. There are a lot of players in our country … right now that can play. They're not all in MLS."

Tuesday's win over the Silverbacks came as a result of combined effort, structured play, and well-executed strategy over the full 120 minutes of soccer by each of the three position groups on the field, plus RSL goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Real Salt Lake forward Devon Sandoval (49) jumps over Atlanta Silverbacks FC goalkeeper Joe Nasco (18) as he chases the ball as Real Salt Lake and the Atlanta Silverbacks play Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Rio Tinto Stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Real Salt Lake forward Devon Sandoval (49) jumps over Atlanta Silverbacks FC goalkeeper Joe Nasco (18) as he chases the ball as Real Salt Lake and the Atlanta Silverbacks play Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Rio Tinto Stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Here is a breakdown of how each position group fared as a whole, with Saunders' evaluation coming last.

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