Sporting Park, Kansas City, KS – Real Salt Lake tried to reverse a badly trending couple of weeks as they traveled to Sporting Park in the Semifinals of the Lamar Hunt 2015 US Open Cup. On a night where we assumed there would be fireworks, particularly the yellow and red kind, the only lights in the sky were during the pre-game presentations.
There were a few tense moments but referee Armando Villerreal was able to, until the last few minutes, when there was a brief confrontation in front the the Sporting Kansas City goal, and then in the last 10 second of play he chose to send off Olmes Garcia on a straight red card for what probably should have been a yellow.
Both clubs have a similar formation, and that made for some a lot of movement up and down as the field felt very open all night, and it was only a matter of time until one of the clubs capitalized on that. The scoring began in the 24th minute when Tony Beltran was sent a ball over the top from 8 yards out to a perfectly positioned Olmes Garcia who fired one past Melia to put RSL on top 1-0.
Sporting threatened several times, and owned almost 60% of the possession in the first half and was able to make that work for them, when Benny Fielhaber takes free kick from the right of the box and Soni Mustivar is left unmarked in the box and easily fires one past Nick Rimando. That scoreline held through the first half, RSL 1-1 Sporting Kansas City.
Neither team made any substitutions at half as they returned to the pitch, but play seemed to favor SKC for much the last 45. Nick Rimando pulled out 7 saves on the night, but the best save of the game might not belong to either Nick Rimando or Melia. That honor should go to Tony Beltran, who ran behind Rimando who left his line and kicked the ball away to keep it level at 1-1.
Things really started to change with 10 minutes to go when Domy Dwyers shot hits the post and deflects directly in the path of a charging Benny Feihaber. Sporting KC put it away in the 85′ when Aaron Maund makes a terrible back pass toward Rimando and Nemeth picks up and puts it behind Nick.
Things got a little more heated just before the match ended, first with several players squaring off in front of the SKC goal, and then in the 91+’ when Armando Villarreal offers up his first red card of the night to Olmes Garcia for bungling into the back of Benny Feilhaber.
At the end of the night Sporting KC was in control of almost the entire second half, taking 12 of their 17 shots, 10 of them on goal. RSL only took 2 shots in the second half, both of them off frame.
Sporting Kansas City will now travel to the Philadelphia Union on September 30th for the US Open Cup 2015 Finals.
Real Salt Lake : Nick Rimando; Aaron Maund; Demar Phillips; Elias Vasquez; Tony Beltran; Javier Morales; Kyle Beckerman (C); Luke Mulholland (Abdoulie Mansally, 88′); Devon Sandoval (Luis Gil, 77′); Sebastian Jaime; Olmes Garcia
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Justen Glad; Wellington Paeckart; Sebastian Saucedo; John Stertzer
Sporting KC: Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam (Marcel de Jont, 90’+2); Kevin Ellis; Matt Besler (C); Amadou Dia; Paulo Nagamura; Soni Mustivar; Benny Feilhaber; Jacob Peterson (Connor Hallisey, 64′); Dom Dwyer; Krisztian Nemeth (Chance Myers, 87′)
Substitutes not used: Jon Kempin; Mikey Lopez; Jimmy Medranda; Erik Palmer-Brown
Up Next for Real Salt Lake:
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action as they host the Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium, Saturday, August 15th.