SANDY — Down more than a few starters thanks to a host of international competitions, Real Salt Lake took on LAFC in the fourth round of the U.S Open Cup Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The absences proved too much for the hosts as RSL fell to LAFC 3-0.
"There was moments that were good and there was times that we maybe said, ‘Hey, this is home and we’ve got to be a little bit tougher,’ and not just one or two players," Freddy Juarez said. Juarez was filling in for Mike Petke as head coach, as Petke was in Minnesota for a pre-scheduled coaching course.
"Ten, 11 guys and the guys that get subbed in...we just wish we would have done a little bit better for the fans and obviously for the team.”
The visitors got the scoreboard early, courtesy of a clinical finish by Carlos Vela.
Vela was on the receiving end of a nearly flawless through pass from Eddie Segura, an effort that the winger finished off in the eighth minute from the right side of the box.
Twenty two minutes later the LAFC advantage nearly doubled on a chip shot by Christian Ramirez.
The striker’s attempt looked on target sailing over RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s head, but it bounced harmlessly off the right post and across the end line.
That miss meant the visitors would take the 1-0 lead into the break, 45 minutes away from knocking RSL from cup competition.
Early in the second half, in the 59th minute, RSL was half a foot away from knotting the game at one goal apiece, though, only to have Tate Schmitt’s touch parried away by LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega.
Five minutes after that opportunity, LAFC pulled away for good, thanks to a goal by Lee Nguyen, his first this season.
“Obviously you don’t want to concede goals," said Schmitt. "We were pushing to find those opportunities, so we were kind of building some momentum. We were finding a little bit more success stepping and pressuring them. … We were kind of just a little too far back and they slipped it through. It was unfortunate.”
To add insult to injury, Adama Diomande added the final goal for LAFC in stoppage time.Comment on this story
“LAFC, you’ve got to tip your hat off to them," Luke Mulholland, a late substition, said. "They’re a quality team. We let them score on either side of the half and really put ourselves in a hole.”
Aside from Schmitt's scoring attempt, Real had just one other excellent shot at goal, a headed attempt in the 81st minute by Marcelo Silva.
He went practically untouched, unmarked, unnotcied in the box, but his header soared over the cross bar.
All told, LAFC dominated possession of the ball, 61% to 39%, and out shot the hosts 9-4, with six shots on target, as compared to just one shot on frame by Real Salt Lake.