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Real Salt Lake collapse in Sacramento, lose 4-1 in Open Cup shock

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Real Salt Lake’s inability to perform on the road continued apace.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Real Salt Lake at Sacramento Republic Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

It was a different competition, but Real Salt Lake kept true to theme in the US Open Cup, dropping out of the tournament against Sacramento Republic after going down 3-1 inside the first half.

It nearly started lopsided, with a long ball putting RSL in a poor position, and a quick cross led to a shot claimed by Lalo Fernandez. That was part of a larger trend, with Sac Republic creating more chances in the opening minutes of the match as they looked to put RSL under the gun early on.

Sacramento’s Tyler Blackwood nearly gave his side the lead in the 7th minute, but some poor decision-making saw him leave an excellent opportunity on the table. Real Monarchs loanee James Moberg cleared the ball away from danger only feet away from Fernandez.

A 14th minute foul to Jordan Allen saw the wide player taken down by a hard shoulder into his chest as he looked to break into the 18-yard box. Sebastian Saucedo’s ensuing free kick from a good position dipped too late to challenge Republic goalkeeper Evan Newton. Allen stayed down for a short time, prompting

Only minutes later, Saucedo was taken down further out, prompting the referee to chide the Sacramento bench for their flagrant reaction to the call. And again, only a couple minutes later, Sacramento’s Harry Williams was booked for taking down Nick Besler in the midfield.

Sacramento took the lead in the 29th minute from a corner, with Trevin Caesar finishing neatly from six yards out with RSL struggling to clear their lines after giving up their fifth corner of the night.

Real Salt Lake leveled the match in the 35th minute when Ricardo Velazco ran at two defenders on the edge of the box, opened space for himself, and zipped a shot across the ground toward the far post to beat Newton. It was a moment of real relief for RSL, who hadn’t been in even that favorable a position on the road in some time.

As RSL struggled to clear their lines from a corner once again, Cazarez scored from a swung-in cross with an excellent header, putting Sacramento up 2-1 — that came in the 42nd minute.

It didn’t get better for RSL. They conceded a penalty in the 45th minute, as James Moberg held Caesar in the box. Jeremy Hall finished to Lalo Fernandez’s right side (which, incidentally, is the side Fernandez was pointing at), giving Sacramento a 3-1 lead as RSL looked to surrender an excellent opportunity to progress in the US Open Cup.

Brooks Lennon entered the match at halftime, replacing Jordan Allen, who had a few bright moments but was largely invisible.

The second half started more brightly for RSL, who exerted continued high pressure and created a few chances as a result —none were spectacular, save an instance of Ricardo Velazco nearly ending up one-on-one with Sacramento keeper Newton before a desperate tackle left RSL with just a corner. Perhaps not coincidentally, Sacramento created an excellent two-on-two opportunity from that very corner.

That brightness could only last so long, with Sacramento Republic going up 4-1 in the 71st minute, with Danny Barrera scoring his first of the match from a James Kiffe cross, with Real Salt Lake’s Justin Schmidt falling asleep on his mark.

Tyler Blackwood nearly created a fifth for Sacramento, as with Fernandez coming out of his goal before Blackwood’s cross and Moberg clearing the ball only just before it met its intended recipient.

Late on, Real Salt Lake nearly gave themselves a bit of false hope, with an Omar Holness cross landing at the feet of Velazco inside the box, who found himself tackled before he could take a shot.

Lineups

RSL: Fernandez; Dunk (82’ Brody), Schmidt, Moberg, Lachowecki; Besler, Holness, Hernandez (67’ Haber); Allen (45’ Lennon), Velazco, Saucedo

Sacramento: Newton; Hord, Klimenta, Christian, Kiffe; Barrera, Hall, Cazarez, Blackwood; Caesar, Williams