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.