"This is a team that has beaten nine MLS teams in various Open Cup matches over the years," said general manager Garth Lagerwey. "It is a very accomplished club for a minor league club, certainly a club that we have a lot of respect for."
Charleston is coming off a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes to reach the round of 16, while RSL struggled past another minor league team, the Atlanta Silverbacks, winning in overtime 3-2.
"We got an early lead and kind of coasted through the match," said head coach Jason Kreis. "We paid the price for that, having to play an extra 30 minutes. You run into games where your players feel like they don't have to put out everything that they have in order to get a result. But we've had enough experiences now to know that if we don't put everything out there, we will lose."
The winner of the tournament gets an automatic bid to the CONCACAF Champions League tournament next year. RSL has never won the U.S. Open Cup before, so the team wants to take advantage of this opportunity, especially knowing that if they get past Charleston, they would host a quarterfinal match in two weeks.
"It's an opportunity for us to lift a trophy," said forward Robbie Findley. "It's something that we haven't won, and it's something that we're focusing hard on."
"We're expecting a team that is really going to come out here and compete," added defender Tony Beltran. "It's a chance for them to play against an MLS team, and in their position, they're going to come in here with everything they've got."
Real Salt Lake has played very well lately, going 6-1-1 in their last eight matches overall. Because RSL doesn't have another game until June 22nd, Kreis can play virtually anyone he wants for an extended number of minutes, and he loves the depth on the team with which he has to play.
"If I put Sebastian Velasquez in the lineup, is that a first team lineup?" Kreis asked rhetorically. "Yes. We have a lot of first team players on our team, more than 11, so it affords me chances. If I start Devin [Sandoval] and [Olmes] Garcia, is that a first choice lineup? I think so. I think we've got four or five forwards that are first choice forwards, so we can literally rotate players to maintain freshness throughout the season."
RSL will be without goalkeeper Nick Rimando, forward Alvaro Saborio and defender Kenny Mansally, who were all called away for international team duties.
Real Salt Lake and Charleston will get underway at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.