Sandy • When in doubt, give it to the fullback.
It was Real Salt Lake defenders Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert, each of whom had one career goal with the franchise heading into Wednesday night's game, that helped put away the visiting Carolina RailHawks, punching the team's first-ever ticket to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals in RSL's 3-0 win.
Prior to those two goals, no RSL defender had scored all season.
"You've got to be pleased when those guys score," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "A lot of the game comes down to our outside backs when we play against teams that sit as deep as they do."
First it was Beltran, whose only previous Major League Soccer goal came in U.S. Open Cup play in June 2011 against the Wilmington Hammerheads.
In the 35th minute, forward Alvaro Saborio was unmarked outside the box, but saw Beltran standing alone in the sun.
Saborio made the pass and Beltran had the spectacular finish.
The defender thought about it, settled and then rifled a right-footed shot to the far post. The ball weaved through traffic and past the outstretched arms of Carolina goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.
"Unfortunately, defenders don't often get the spotlight we do a lot of the dirty work but when you do get the rare goal it's nice," Beltran said.
Sixteen minutes later, it was Wingert's turn. His last MLS goal came in May 2010 against Chivas USA. But his right-footed shot from outside the box took a deflection and twirled in. The left back laughed, admitting he couldn't let Beltran have the spotlight of the evening after putting RSL up 2-0, but added his fellow fullback's finish was bit more impressive.
"I don't think you compare the two goals," Wingert said. "He hit a blast and mine was barely a deflection. … We'll take it."