For the first time in their still-short history, Real Salt Lake will play in a US Open Cup semifinal after defeating Carolina Railhawks 3-0 in a quarterfinal.
After a slightly unexciting start, perhaps owing to a desire to not concede two early goals once again, RSL right back Tony Beltran opened the scoring with a skipping shot from distance that beat the Railhawks defense and goalkeeper and nestled in the far corner. His 39th minute goal was only his second career goal - his first came against Wilmington Hammerheads in RSL's 2011 US Open Cup campaign.
Ten minutes later (with a half neatly interrupting), RSL's opposite full back, Chris Wingert, scored his second career goal, essentially sealing the win for Real Salt Lake.
Shortly after that second goal, Railhawks decided their strategy of simply sitting back and letting the game be played while they attempted to stop it wasn't going to lead to anything approaching a win, and for a solid 15 to 20 minutes, Real Salt Lake was on the back foot. Some valiant efforts from the back line and goalkeeper Josh Saunders kept the match in RSL's firm grasp, but there were some tetchy moments at the back.
A late headed goal from Alvaro Saborio closed out the match, with Olmes Garcia swinging in a cross for the Costa Rican to head home before heading off to the Gold Cup. Interestingly, Garcia played largely as an attacking winger from the side of the diamond when he came on - a tactical variation that kept Railhawks stretched and created a final goal.
Saborio's late effort kept the scoring in recent weeks at a high level, and in the three US Open Cup matches Real Salt Lake have played thus far, they've scored 11 goals - some of which were made necessary by heroics that forced extra time.