Real Salt Lake's run towards qualification for the 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup came to a disappointing end tonight in central Ohio, as the Columbus Crew used a goal in each half to down the Utah squad 2-0 in an MLS "Play-In" round contest at Crew Stadium. Real Salt Lake fell behind midway through the first half on a goal by Crew rookie FW Steven Lenhart, then saw its hopes to equalize get even tougher just after the halftime break when MF Dema Kovalenko was shown a straight red card for his role in a sideline confrontation with Columbus MF Emmanuel Ekpo in the 49th minute. Columbus would capitalize on its newfound man advantage just four minutes later on a shot from distance by Crew MF Robbie Rogers that bounced in off the right post past diving RSL GK Nick Rimando, who did well to keep the Utahns in the match by making eight saves and thwarting three 1-v-1 assaults by The Crew on the RSL goal.
Real Salt Lake (2-5-2, 8 pts. in MLS play) will travel back to Utah on Wednesday and train at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday (12:00 p.m. MT) and Friday (11:00 a.m.) in preparation for its return to MLS regular season play this Saturday, May 31, when RSL will play host to the San Jose Earthquakes (2-5-1, 7 pts.) for a 7:00 p.m. MT kick-off (live on Fox Soccer Channel, KALL 700 Sports and "Ke Buena" AM-1600).
Real Salt Lake (2-5-2) vs. Columbus Crew (6-2-1) (records reflect only MLS regular season results) May 27, 2008 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
CLB -- Steven Lenhart 1 (unassisted) 26
CLB -- Robbie Rogers 1 (Brian Carroll) 53
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Dustin Kirby (Tony Beltran 61), David Horst, Matias Mantilla, Ian Joy, Dema Kovalenko, Matias Cordoba (Javier Morales 73), Kenny Cutler (Andy Williams 46), Kyle Beckerman, Tino Nunez (Fabian Espíndola 70), Robbie Findley.
Substitutes Not Used: Nat Borchers, Alex Nimo, Kyle Reynish
Columbus Crew -- Andy Gruenebaum, Jed Zayner, Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, Ryan Junge, Emmanuel Ekpo (Andrew Peterson 85), Brian Carroll (Brad Evans 70), Adam Moffat, Robbie Rogers (Eddie Gaven 75), Alejandro Moreno (George Josten 77), Steven Lenhart.
Substitutes Not Used: Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Will Hesmer, Andy Iro
RSL -- Dema Kovalenko (ejection; Violent Conduct) 49
CLB -- Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; Professional Foul) 78
CLB -- Adam Moffat (caution; Pushing, Holding) 80
RSL -- Fabian Espindola (caution; Professional Foul) 90
CLB -- Jed Zayner (caution; Professional Foul) 94
Referee: Jeff Gontarek
Referee's Assistants: Mikael Lundqvist; Michael Szymanski
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy -and- 59 degrees All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial