RSL moves on to the semifinals against Portland in August 7th at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“I’m pleased, but it means nothing to me, really, to be in the semifinal," said head coach Jason Kreis. "It’ll mean something to me to win the whole thing. We’re another step closer – I’m pleased with that. I’m pleased with the performance overall, and tonight I thought we responded well after a pretty sluggish start. I’m happy that we’re moving on."
Running out the same lineup with only one change — goalkeeper Josh Saunders started in place of Nick Rimando — that beat the Seattle Sounders last Saturday, RSL dominated from start to finish.
The RailHawks seemed timid in the opening half hour, frequently dropping deep and putting all 11 men behind the ball.
With RSL controlling possession it was wave after wave of pressure, and Beltran eventually pushed up to make the most of the space Carolina offered. The fullback hit a right-footed blast from 25 yards out, the second goal of his career, off a pass from Saborio to open the scoring late in the first half.
The goal forced Carolina to come out of their shell some, but that just opened up the game for the hosts. The 51st minute saw another rarity: Wingert also knotched his second career goal after pushing high into the attack. Wingert took a right-footed shot from distance that deflected off a Carolina defender, wrong-footing 'keeper Akira Fitzgerald for the two-goal lead.
“It’s been a lot of years since my last goal," said Wingert. "But I was joking with the guys and I said even if it doesn’t count on the MLS stats sheets, I am pretty good at scoring because I’ve had a few in pre-season. It was good for the team and Saborio finished them off there at the end and it was a good performance for our guys and moving forward.”
Saborio added a third goal in the 85th minute on a header assisted by Olmes Garcia, though by that time the result was academic. RSL clamped down defensively to preserve the shutout.
With the win, Real Salt Lake advance to the semifinals of the US Open Cup where they will host the Timbers — 3-2 winners over Dallas Wednesday night — on Wednesday, August 7th at 7:30 pm MT.
"We just try to play our game and do the same things," said captain Kyle Beckerman. "I think maybe the last game they got a bit lucky. They had two chances and finished them, but nothing changes. We're just trying to do the same thing; keep improving, getting better each game. We still have a ways to go, but if we can learn lessons as we win then that's a good thing."