The U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal started off much like the traffic jam that was Interstate-15 hours before. Stop-and-go play was the name of the game as the first twenty minutes was called very tight. The referee let his presence be known as nearly every minute sung with to the tune of the whistle and neither the LA Galaxy nor Real Salt Lake were able to find any rhythm.
Finally, in the 21st minute, Joao Plata looked to be offside but the assistant on the touchline kept his flag down as the diminutive Ecuadorian raced forward. Plata was able to beat the signature tight defense that Bruce Arena teams are known for but his shot went just wide of the upright.
Sebastian Lletget was nearly able to steal a goal for the Galaxy except for the amazing acrobatics of Jeff Attinella. Lletget let off a rocket from only about seven yards outs but the strength of Attinella was on full display as he snatched up the chance.
Fantastic interplay between Plata and Javier Morales lead to the Claret-and-Cobalt's most intricate play of the night. Taking a page from the book of Classic RSL, the two creative players moved the ball out wide and placed a beautiful cross at the top of the six yard box. If it wasn't for A.J. De LaGarza, who deflected the ball out of play, Devon Sandoval would have had a clear chance on goal.
De LaGarza was at the opposite end of the spectrum minutes later, however, as Tony Beltran drove a hard and low cross into the box which the aforementioned De LaGarza nearly defected into his own net.
The rest of the first half crawled to a halt as both sides looked to be out of gas or out of ideas.
This didn't stop the second half from starting off with a bang as RSL created two quality chances early. LA's Brian Rowe was up to the task, however, as he parried the ball wide of the netting repeatedly. A quick counter left RSL vulnerable as the Galaxy's newest starlet Steven Gerrard then nearly open up his MLS scoring account. Attinella again showed off his quality and kept the sides level at 0-0.
Similarly, the goalkeepers where the stars for much of the second half as both sides sparred but in the 87th minute RSL finally found the back of the net. RSL won the ball deep in midfield and turned for a quick counter. With Aaron Maund still near the 18 yard box from a corner won by Abdoulie Mansally seconds before, Luke Mulholland send in a long, overhead ball which found its target. Muand was able to tuck away his first career goal in his fourth year as a professional soccer player.
The Claret-and-Cobalt would go on to win the match after more late match heroics by none other than Jeff Attinella.