RSL report card: Substitutes shine in dramatic 5-2 U.S. Open Cup extra-time win

Published: Thursday, June 13 2013 8:44 a.m. MDT

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Starters: Devon Sandoval, Olmes Garcia

Substitutions: Joao Plata for Aaron Maund (defender) in the 63rd minute, Robbie Findley for Olmes Garcia in the 75th minute

Tactical shift: RSL went to a 3-4-3 formation when Kreis substited Plata, a forward, for Maund, a defender, in the 63rd minute.

Through the first half, Real Salt Lake’s attack severely struggled, and allowing the two Charleston goals didn’t make matters easier. Charleston abandoned the attack and put virtually everyone behind the ball, determined not to allow RSL to get through, which really frustrated Garcia and Sandoval.

“I actually think he wasn’t the sharpest,” Kreis said of Sandoval, “until he scored the goal, and then I thought he was fantastic. The work rate is always there. He scored that goal and then he really didn’t put a foot wrong the rest of the way.”

The key in the change was a dual substitution in the 63rd minute. Plata came in and RSL shifted its shape, putting three forwards at the top — Plata, Garcia and Sandoval. RSL instantly became twice as dangerous at the top, particularly because of Plata’s passing. Sandoval finally broke through in the 66th minute, and Plata earned and took the penalty kick that sent the game to extra time.

“All the guys who came into the match were difference-makers for me," Kreis said, "and that’s what you need to have. The guys coming off the bench were critical. All of them did well, worked hard and were part of the difference.”

Sandoval was everywhere in the second half; as service in the box improved, so did his game. He got RSL its first goal and tied RSL’s U.S. Open Cup scoring record (three goals) with a second goal in the first overtime. He also took the foul that earned RSL a penalty in the 108th minute.

Grade: A-

Man of the Match: Devon Sandoval

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