Sandy • For a few hours Tuesday, Real Salt Lake thought it was going to have to make a long and expensive trip to play minor-league Minnesota in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup next week.
The team worked out a late-night deal to play the May 29 game at home, instead, presumably giving it a better chance of advancing in the nation’s oldest tournament and maybe even make some money.
Tickets will cost $10 for season-ticket holders and $15 for the general public. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The deal was struck in the hours after the second-division Stars beat fourth-tier Des Moines 2-0, despite playing the final 50 minutes a man down.
The Stars were originally scheduled to play host to RSL, based on the results of a series of coin flips.
But RSL negotiated a buyout of the game that probably included paying Minnesota’s travel costs and perhaps giving it a portion of ticket sales, although team officials did not announce terms of the deal. In any case, RSL probably has at least a chance to make money, if it can draw enough fans to the game.
The matchup will conjure memories of a 6-4 RSL overtime loss at Minnesota in the Open Cup in 2005, the team’s inaugural season, in which current coach Jason Kreis scored three times but came away disgusted at his team giving away the lead three times — including in the final minute of regulation.
“Ten years in the league,” he said at the time, “it’s as low as I’ve ever been.”
Curiously, six former RSL players scored goals in other U.S. Open Cup games on Tuesday: Chris Agorsor, Pablo Campos, Conor Chinn, Raphael Cox, Jamie Watson and Artur Aghasyan.
Enjoying the break
Kreis had hoped that the extra time off that his players were able to enjoy without a Major League Soccer game last week would pay dividends.
So far, so (mostly) good.
While midfielder Javier Morales and defender Chris Wingert moved closer to returning to the lineup — Morales is battling a quadriceps strain, and Wingert is recovering from a hamstring injury — defender Chris Schuler has been ruled out for at least the next couple of weeks with a stress fracture in his foot.
“We’ll see, after that,” Kreis said. “Could be longer.” Kreis said Morales has about a 50-50 chance to play against FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, the team’s only league game in a five-week stretch. Wingert has a slightly better chance, the coach said, after practicing more than Morales did on Tuesday.
“Every player has had five days off and some players have had six days off” since the last league game at Seattle on May 12, Kreis said. “We know that’s going to be beneficial for us. Judging by the effort and the focus and the sharpness of training, I think it was good.”
P FC Dallas at RSLSaturday, 7 p.m.
TV • CW30