It was a good night of US Open Cup action at Rio Tinto, two first half goals were enough to secure the 2-0 win. It was a 40th minute goal by Tony Beltran that got the scoring started and then 4 minutes later it was Jean Alexandre who found the back of the net. It was a fairly dominating performance by RSL, they out shot Wilmington 18 to 6, with 7 to 3 on goal and it was only the goal post and cross bar that kept the score from being higher as both Will Johnson and Andy Williams put shots off the the woodwork.
I was impressed by how well Kyle Reynish did in goal, solid for his 3 saves and in command of the back line which saw very solid performances from Chris Schuler and Rauwshan McKenzie who joined Nat Borchers and Tony Beltran. I was really impressed how well Chris did playing on the wing, he defended well and moved forward to support the RSL attack. He crossed a ball that was a laser into the area and found the head of Jean Alexandre but was a bit off target. Robbie Russell came on for Schuler with about 30 minutes left and added some fresh legs to stretch the Hammerheads, he had a couple great passes and really good shots in his limited minutes.
more after the jump:
The midfield was Will Johnson, Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman and Collen Warner get the start and I thought they were good together, Will Johnson continues to amaze me week in and week out with his work rate on both sides of the ball. Andy had some dazzling plays with the ball and only the cross bar kept him from scoring on a Bomma Bomb tonight. Kyle did what Kyle does best, he broke up the opponents attacks and started the RSL efforts moving forward, he is a big part of the engine of RSL. Collen looked good and made some good runs, and some nice passes, I still think he is adjusting to working with the other guys as the playmaker, I expect he will continue to improve. Ned Grabavoy and Nelson Gonzalez came in the second half and both brought good energy, both found their way into dangerous positions and keep the Wilmington defense on their heels.
Up top was the pairing of Jean Alexandre and Luis Gil, and both of them impressed me with their efforts. Jean had the goal and assist on Tony's goal but he was just inches away from a couple other goals. Luis was all over the place and showed his pace in making some huge runs and had a couple of good shots including one that forced Kyle Polak, the Wilmington keeper, to make a save late in the first half. It was an interesting combo and I thought they complimented each other very well.
While the mixed lineup wasn't the same as we saw against Toronto FC, and we didn't dominate as much as I expected with possession, but the reality is that we limited their chances and forced them to try to keep up with us. A solid performance for the US Open Cup and allows us to move on to face FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park on July 12th, just 3 days after FC Dallas will visit Rio Tinto Stadium in MLS action.
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