Instead, it's Atlanta that awaits the winner of the Colorado Rapids (MLS) and Orlando City (USL) in the next round. A year after being fortunate enough to have every Open Cup match at home, RSL's 2014 Open Cup road trip was lackluster.
"Last year we had every game at home, which is a lot easier on the guys," RSL coach Jeff Cassar said, "but that's just an excuse. We didn't play good enough to win tonight. I can at least walk away and say we didn't deserve to win this game. Just extremely disappointed that we're not being able to close out games, we're not recognizing dangers, we're getting exposed it was just a bad performance."
It started off well.
Forward Robbie Findley gave RSL a quick 1-0 lead in the 10th minute of play, capitalizing on a mistake by Atlanta goalkeeper Derby Carrillo. The Silverbacks keeper came out of the box to contest the ball and whiffed the clearance, and Findley tapped in an easy goal.
That'd be the easiest piece of the match all evening for RSL.
From there, the Silverbacks stampeded. They pressed and pressured RSL with wave after wave of counterattacks, not allowing RSL an ounce of comfort in its possession style. Atlanta equalized in the 33rd minute when Junior Burgos' shot found the net. After that, goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was tasked with stopping several point-blank shots, but in the end, Atlanta midfielder Kwadwo Poku ended things. His 25-yard shot whisked by Attinella in the second minute of stoppage time to give the Silverbacks the lead.
"We started great, then we went away from what we were doing," Cassar said. "[Atlanta] played with more energy, more passion … like they were fighting for their jobs."
Minus eight starters in its 2014 Open Cup debut, RSL floundered and has two weeks before MLS action restarts June 28 in a road match at Chivas USA.
Atlanta 2, Real Salt Lake 1
R Atlanta forward Kwadwo Poku scored the game-winner at home in stoppage time for a 2-1 win over RSL.
• RSL forward Robbie Findley gave his team the lead in the 10th minute of play, his first goal of the season.
• RSL will be off for the next two weeks during the FIFA World Cup break and gets back to MLS action June 28 at Chivas USA.