SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake beat the Wilmington Hammerheads 2-0 in US Open Cup action on Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium with goals from Jean Alexandre and Tony Beltran to advance to the quarterfinals stage of the tournament.
Both Beltran and Alexandre scored their goals late in the first half to lead a dominant RSL to victory. The Claret-and-Cobalt will now face FC Dallas, who pulled off a nail-biting 3-2 win over Orlando City.
Wilmington put up a good fight in the early stages of the first half, but it was still Real Salt Lake who controlled possession and the chances. RSL had nine shots on goal in the half compared to five by the visitors, and they were able to convert a couple of those opportunities.
RSL’s first clear chance came in just the 12th minute, when Luis Gil found himself in a one-on-one against ‘keeper Kyle Polak. Gil, however, rushed the shot and pushed it wide.
Six minutes later, it was Alexandre who took his turn. The forward popped up unmarked near the goal but his header off of a cross by left back Chris Schuler missed the mark
The home team finally opened the scoring in the 40th minute via Beltran, who tallied his first goal in a Real Salt Lake kit. The defender took a feed from Alexandre just outside the six-yard area and his low-angle attempt at the near post snuck past Polak.
Just a few minutes later, RSL added to the lead when Alexandre collected a through ball from Will Johnson, outmuscled a defender, then easily slotted home.
Wilmington came out with a bit more fight in the second half and constructed two nice chances, with forward Andriy Budnyy at the heart of both. In the first, the striker beat the defense but hesitated to get a shot off. Just moments later, Bundyy delivered a wonderful cross into the box, but Beltran stuck his head in the mix just before the ball reached its intended target.
From there on out, it appeared that the altitude caught up with the visitors, who looked visibly gassed as RSL poured on the pressure. Despite getting numerous good looks, RSL were unable to beat neither the ‘keeper nor the goal posts.
Real Salt Lake will now prepare for a July 4 home encounter in MLS play against the New England Revolution.
RSL -- Tony Beltran (Jean Alexandre) 40
RSL -- Jean Alexandre (Will Johnson) 44
WIL -- Tom Taylor (caution; Reckless Foul) 17
WIL -- Emanual Guzman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 35
RSL -- Ned Grabavoy (caution; Tactical Foul) 68
WIL -- Paul Nicholson (caution; Persistent Infringement) 83
Wilmington Hammerheads -- Kyle Polak, Tom Parratt, Ivan Becerra, Gareth Evans, Dylan Riley, Emanual Guzman (Jyler Noviello 60), Tom Taylor (Richard Jata 52), Paul Nicholson, Hakop Avesyan (Julio Cuero 74), Luke Muholland, Andriy Budnyy.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Banks.
Real Salt Lake -- Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler (Robbie Russell 63), Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman (Ned Grabavoy 63), Collen Warner (Nelson Gonzalez 74), Will Johnson, Jean Alexandre, Luis Gil.
Substitutes Not Used: Artur Aghasyan, Jamison Olave, Donny Toia, Tim Melia.
Referee: Allen Chapman
Referee's Assistants: Brad Jensen; Brandon Major
4th Official: Vincent Bair
Weather: Clear and 91 degrees