Whatever’s gotten into Rubio Rubin the last few days, Real Salt Lake might want to make it a double.
Four days after scoring a brace in a 2-1 road win over Austin FC in MLS play, Rubin had two assists and Damir Kreilach scored twice to help RSL hold off the LA Galaxy, 3-2, and advance to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time since 2015.
Jefferson Savarino added a goal for RSL, which will face the Houston Dynamo at a site determined by a hosting priority draw Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS Sports’ Golazo network.
Simply the perfect touch by Cap!!!! pic.twitter.com/gAll750Vt3— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) June 8, 2023
But Wednesday night’s win meant a little bit more to Rubio: not only did it keep RSL alive for a trophy and the club’s first CONCACAF Champions League berth since 2016.
And after dispatching three-straight opponents on the road, Salt Lake finally got to do it at home.
“We’re always playing for something, competing for a trophy,” Rubin said. “The Open Cup is a special tournament. We have two more games, and we want to lift the trophy this year. MLS Cup, as well.”
So this was a good way to end the first half pic.twitter.com/56QJsxMNqf— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) June 8, 2023
Rubin, who also won a penalty for RSL, has had a hand in each of the last five goals for Salt Lake.
The Guatemalan international from Beaverton, Oregon, who didn’t score a goal in 830 minutes is now pulling out points in bunches for an RSL club that advanced to the Open Cup semifinals for the first time since 2015.With RSL controlling nearly 2/3 of early possession, Kreilach capitalized with the go-ahead goal off his right foot, picking out the back of the net after Rubin set him up with a pass from Savarino.
“I couldn’t be happier for Rubio,” RSL manager Pablo Masatroeni said. “He’s an unbelievable teammate, an unbelievable player, and now he’s putting goals in the back of the net, which is great for his career.”
Things went from bad to worse for the Galaxy by the 25th minute, when star forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had to be removed from the pitch with a right knee injury. The former Mexican international did not return, replaced by Dejan Joveljić for the remainder of the match.
The Galaxy are awaiting results of an MRI to determine the extent of the noncontact injury for Chicharito, who did not put any weight on his injured leg as he left the stadium pitch midway through the first half.
Kreilach doubled his account in the final minute of first-half stoppage time, bagging a brace from the penalty spot after Julian Aude was called for a foul against Rubin while attempting a corner kick.
Did you expect anything else? pic.twitter.com/H4tDUFVDGg— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) June 8, 2023
Rubin had his second assist of the night, setting up Savarino for RSL’s third goal of the night in the 51st minute to stretch the home side’s lead to 3-0.
But the Galaxy wasn’t done yet.
Gaston Brugman pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, and Douglas Costa added a wonder strike less than two minutes later to cut LA’s deficit to one.
But Gavin Beavers made four saves, including one to open seven minutes of stoppage time, to help RSL hang on for the club’s third Open Cup semifinal appearance all-time. The ultimate goal is not only to win the US Open Cup for the first time in club history, but they would also be the first team from Utah to lift the trophy in the tournament’s 108-year history.
“It was, for us, a huge opportunity, playing this Open Cup game at home after three road games,” Kreilach said. “The fans got their final opportunity; they’ve been waiting for a long time. Now we have to keep going, stay humble, and take it game-by-game.”