Aaron Maund scored his first professional goal as Real Salt Lake continued its 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup run with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Maund’s header from Luke Mulholland’s cross in the 87th minute caught Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe off balance, and RSL keeper Jeff Attinella finished with four saves and a clean sheet to preserve the result.
“I don’t think a lot of people outside this locker room thought we were going to win this game tonight – and we did,” Attinella told Chris Kamrani of The Salt Lake Tribune.
The victory advances RSL to the Semifinals where the club will play the winner of next week’s Houston Dynamo-Sporting Kansas City match. The date of the match is expected to be Aug. 11 or 12. It’s the second appearance in the Open Cup Semifinals in the last three seasons for Real Salt Lake, who were runners-up in 2013.
“That game could have gone either way,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Credit to them; They’re the ones that finished it off.”
Maund’s goal culminated heaping pressure from RSL, which produced 10 corner kicks – three in a span of less than two minutes – and controlled possession for long stretches.
“(Luke) puts a perfect ball in there, just got get my head on it, so credit to Luke,” Maund told Kamrani. “I get in good spots, but I’m heading it up. Finally I was able to get my head down and get it on target.”
L.A.’s newest Designated Player, Steven Gerrard, came on to start the second half and had a one-on-one opportunity against Attinella in the 55th minute which RSL’s reserve keeper pushed aside.
“I’m going to save the YouTube clip, probably,” Attinella said.
Attinella, starting while Nick Rimando is away on international duty at the Gold Cup, was otherwise rarely tested.
“It’s always tough when you lose on the road, especially towards the end of the game,” said Gerrard. “We had some good chances to at least take the game to extra time.
“I’m strangely very happy at the moment,” he added. “It gave me a flavor of the MLS standard tonight. I’m very confident that the goals and the assists and the dangerous play will come to me in the future.”
Part of the challenge for the England international is trying to get match fit and playing a game at roughly 4,500 feet.
“I think always when you play at altidude when you have your first couple of strides or sprints, you feel it in your throat, and you feel it in your lungs. As soon as I got my second wind, I was fine,” said Gerrard. “I felt really dangerous. I felt like when I came in and played behind Robbie (Keane) we were creating chances, but unfortunately we never took one.”
Combined with his exhibition debut against Club America, Gerrard has had four shots on goal but has yet to score in over 90-plus minutes in the Galaxy’s previous two games but has yet to produce his first goal or assist.
The Galaxy, last season’s Major League Soccer champions, were eliminated from the Open Cup with a shutout for the third year in a row. The road has not been kind to the Galaxy either with Los Angeles getting eliminated from the tournament away from home eight straight years. They are still seeking their first Open Cup title since 2005.
RSL advance to the final four where they are seeking to become the first Utah-based club to ever win the US Open Cup.
AARON MAUND’S GAME-WINNER FOR RSL
POSTGAME: STEVEN GERRARD
POSTGAME: LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA
FULL MATCH REPLAY: LA GALAXY AT REAL SALT LAKE