The fans at Rio Tinto Stadium were still making their way to their seats last year when Real Salt Lake's Open Cup hopes took a serious blow.
The Minnesota Stars, of the North American Soccer League, scored in the game's third minute to kick-start their upset bid. By the time the final whistle was blown, RSL had endured one of its worst home losses ever.
With the team's first Open Cup match of 2013 set for Tuesday, Salt Lake players can expect a history lesson from coach Jason Kreis.
"I think the first thing is to remind the players of [last year's loss]," the coach said, "because that was a dreadful night the worst night in the history of the club in my opinion."
RSL was badly outplayed in the 3-1 defeat to Minnesota, and will be looking to bounce back against the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Atlanta's technical director, Eric Wynalda, led the amateur Cal FC to the fourth round of last year's Open Cup, beating the Portland Timbers along the way. Several of those Cal FC players are now in Atlanta.
The Silverbacks are coached by Brian Haynes, who played alongside Kreis, RSL assistant Jeff Cassar and RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey on the Dallas Burn team that won the Open Cup in 1997.
"I consider him just a comrade, a coach and a friend," Kreis said of Haynes. "Hopefully we'll be able to welcome him in, and then send him away with a loss."
That would be a welcomed reversal of fortune for Salt Lake, a club that is 5-8-0 all time in Open Cup play. But after missing out on CONCACAF Champions League this year, Kreis said RSL will be looking to make a statement in Open Cup.
"We're going to take a very aggressive approach to the tournament this year," he said. "We want to win it, I want to win it, the club wants to win it, and hopefully the players want to win it.Â It's a chance at a tournament, a chance at a trophy, a chance at allocation money, and a chance to get ourselves back in CONCACAF there's a lot of good things about that tournament."
Real Salt Lake vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
P (U.S. Open Cup)
At Rio Tinto Stadium
Tipoff Â» Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Radio •Â ESPN 700
About the Silverbacks • Coached by Brian Haynes, a former teammate of RSL coach Jason Kreis. ... Beat the Georgia Revolution to advance to the third round of Open Cup play.
About RSL • Bounced from the Open Cup last year by the Minnesota Stars. ... Team is 5-8-0 all time in the tournament.