In an exciting back-and-forth night at Buck Shaw Stadium, Real Salt Lake advanced to the next round of US Open Cup qualifying, winning a penalty kick shootout with the San Jose Earthquakes. The defending MLS Cup champions blew a two-goal lead, fell behind 3-2 in overtime, but managed to equalize in the 117th minute and survive the shootout, 5-3.
It was their first-ever road win in Open Cup play (qualifying or tournament games) for RSL, and they will move on to face the winner of the FC Dallas, D.C. United match on April 28 (7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium). The game will be held either at Dallas or D.C., at a date to be determined, and whoever wins that match will qualify for the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Salt Lake, who, on the same field, defeated San Jose 3-0 just a few weeks ago, took advantage of an early defensive mistake by Quakes. In the 7th minute, Robbie Findley stole an errant pass by Chris Leitch at the back and raced in one-on-one with goalkeeper Jon Busch. Findley beat Busch, who was making his Earthquakes debut after joining the club following his release by the Chicago Fire shortly before the start of the 2010 season.
RSL would add another after halftime when Nelson Gonzalez connected on a 25-yard free kick in the 60th minute. Gonzalez beat Busch for his first goal for the club.
Eight minutes later, Leitch made up for his first half mistake by dribbling into the penalty area, finding space and firing a shot past RSL goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
The visitors appeared to have their first road win in hand, but Arturo Alvarez of San Jose tied up the game in the 88th minute on a pass from Ramiro Corrales.
In overtime, the Earthquakes would take the lead in the 103rd minute thanks to a goal by Justin Morrow, the rookie out of Notre Dame. With three straight goals, the home team appeared to have all the momentum, but Salt Lake would snatch it away in the final minutes when Nat Borchers headed home a cross from Robbie Russell to send the game into penalty kicks.
In the shootout, Will Johnson buried his attempt to lead off the tiebreaker, but Alvarez went from hero to goat as he missed his spot kick wide right. Both teams would convert all of their kicks for the remainder, giving RSL the 5-3 victory. Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley, Robbie Russell and Andy Williams all scored for RSL.
For the Quakes, it is their third Open Cup qualifying loss in a row. They have not won a qualifying game in three tries since returning to MLS in 2008.
RSL — Will Johnson (caution), 8th minute; Kyle Beckerman (caution), 88th minute
SJ — Steve Beitashour (caution), 51st minute; Bobby Burling (caution), 108th minute
Real Salt Lake: Reynish; Beltran, Borchers, McKenzie, Wingert (Russell 31); Johnson, Warner (Beckerman 69), Alexandre, Gonzalez (Williams 61); Findley, Saborio (Espindola 80)
San Jose: Busch; Leitch, Burling, McDonald, Corrales, Robles (Alvarez 61), Sanchez, Wondolowski (Eduardo 61, Jasseh 74), Morrow; Glen (Beitashour 13), Gjertsen