RSL: Open Cup win could extend home streak
Real Salt Lake has looked plenty comfortable lately.
RSL has not had to play away from the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium since before the calendar changed to June a stretch of what will be six straight home games by the time the Seattle Sounders come to Utah next weekend.
Salt Lake, however, will be looking to extend that streak to seven.
A win over the Charleston Battery on Wednesday in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup could potentially give RSL another June home match.
RSL coach Jason Kreis has been vocal about his desire to win this year's Open Cup, a tournament that has historically given Real trouble.
"I think they're as hungry for this tournament as I am," Kreis said of his players. "We're all very much aligned in it this year with a little bit of a different approach."
Salt Lake has been the beneficiary of Open Cup fortune this year, winning coin flips to host its first two matches of the tournament. MLS West powers Los Angeles and Seattle, meanwhile, had to travel across the country in eventual defeats.
Tuesday's opponent, the Charleston Battery, hosted the San Jose Earthquakes two weeks ago, beating the MLS team 1-0 in South Carolina. The Battery feature a pair of former MLS players in defender John Wilson (Kansas City, New England, D.C. United) and midfielder Amadou Sanyang (Toronto FC). Charleston midfielder Jarad van Schaik was drafted by RSL in the second round of the 2011 draft but was not offered a contract by the team.
Charleston has a history of taking down first-league sides in the Open Cup. Its win over San Jose was its ninth in the tournament since 1999.
The winner of Wednesday's game will face the winner of Chivas USA and the Carolina RailHawks.
RSL will be without a number of players Tuesday due to international duty. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando will be with the U.S. men's national team. Midfielder Luis Gil is training with the U.S. Under-20 team. Forward Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) and defender Abdoulie Mansally (Gambia) will also be unavailable for selection.
Defender Chris Schuler will once again be held out because of a left foot injury. Defender Rich Balchan and midfielder John Stertzer are also out for RSL as they recover from shoulder surgeries.
Battery at RSL
O At Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy)
Kickoff • Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.; Radio • 700 AM
About RSL Â» Beat the Atlanta Silverbacks 3-2 in overtime to advance in the Open Cup. ... Improved to 6-8-0 all time in the tournament with the win.
About the Battery Â» Beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in the third round of the Open Cup. ... The win was the ninth time the Battery has knocked an MLS team out of the tournament.