RSL grabbed a very early lead through Beckerman header before letting their NASL opponents hang around until the latter stages amid heavy rainfall along the Wasatch Front.
In the 86th minute, a nice Silverbacks passing sequence broke down the Real back line and set up Chicago Fire loanee Kellen Gulley for a stunning equalizer that sent the game into overtime.
But RSL recovered, and scored two goals in extra time. The first came in the 98th minute by rookie Devon Sandoval. Then, just three minutes later, Khari Stephenson blasted a rocket past Atlanta goalkeeper Joe Nasco to give RSL a 3-1 lead.
Pablo Cruz beat RSL keeper Josh Saunders to cut the deficit to one goal, but it was not enough.
“Again, another game where we’ve got to put away our chances, and it’s an easy win," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "We were kicking it around the goal, some chances weren’t taken. Against a team like that, if you leave them hanging around, they’ve got enough dangerous players – we’ve seen them come back from deficits. They don’t quit; they’re a well-coached team. Tonight is very much a result of just not putting away chances to finish the game.”
“Well, it’s the story of these games," said Beckerman. "Maybe their goalie played out of his mind, saving a lot of chances. Maybe we just didn’t finish good enough. It was probably a little bit of both. When you don’t finish, these teams start to get confidence. They feel like they’re hanging around and if they get a chance maybe they can make the upset.”
Real Salt Lake advances to play the Charleston Battery in the 4th round U.S. Open Cup June 12th. But first, RSL returns to MLS action Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match will be televised by ABC 4 starting at 7:30 p.m.