SANDY, Utah — Getting the fullbacks into the attack has been a core principle of Real Salt Lake’s tactical plan for years. It just hasn’t resulted in a lot of goals or glory for said fullbacks.
That changed Wednesday night as both Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert got on the scoreboard in a 3-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup quarterfinals.
“Got to be pleased when both those guys score,” said RSL coach Jason Kreis. “A lot of the game comes down to our outside backs when we play against a team that sits as deep as they do. It's about making the aggressive decisions at the right time, and forcing the players in front of them to make decisions, finding the right passes and getting strikes on goal. I am very, very pleased for both those guys.”
While both found paydirt, Wingert said Beltran deserves a little more credit for his strike. Beltran scored a right-footed rocket from 25 yards straight to the back post. Wingert, on the other hand, was a bit fortunate as his goal deflected off a defender and threw the ‘keeper off.
“The sun was definitely was in my eyes,” said Beltran of his scoring play. “[Álvaro Saborío] made a great pass, and I wasn't sure after I took the first touch if I was going to take another one and drive to the endline and cut it back. I think I heard [Kyle Beckerman] say, ‘Hit it.’ So I just decided to rip it, and it went far post — a good goal.”
“You can't really compare the two goals,” said Wingert. “I mean, he hit a blast and mine was clearly a deflection. So I don't think you can compare the two, but whatever, we'll take it.
Besides netting goals the duo also helped preserve the team's shutout, and while that is clearly important, it probably isn't the thing that fans will remember this game by.
“It's always nice to score,” said Beltran who, like Wingert, tallied his second goal for RSL. “Everybody likes the feeling. Unfortunately, defenders don't often get the spotlight. We do a lot of the dirty work, but when you do get the right goal, it's nice.”
Beltran said the only thing that really went wrong with the game and his goal was he forgot to celebrate it with something he had planned.
“I had a little tribute to my buddy, who is a speedskater training for the Olympics,” said Beltran. “But it's funny, sometimes when things like that happen your mind goes blank and everything goes out the window.”