D.C. tops RSL 2-1 in Carolina opener
Real Salt Lake saw the defense of its Carolina Challenge Cup title hit a snag this evening, suffering a 2-1 defeat to D.C. United at Blackbaud Stadium. RSL striker Robbie Findley gave the Utah side the lead from the penalty spot in the 40th minute, but a pair of goals from United FW Jaime Moreno late in the second half would give the Black-and-Red the win in the opener of the seventh annual edition of the preseason tournament.
After seeing the fewer of what little chances were created in the opening 20 minutes, the Real Salt Lake attack began to turn it around and find better opportunities towards goal as the half progressed. The Utah side's mounting forays into United's final third paid off five minutes from the halftime whistle when Findley slotted his effort from the spot underneath D.C. 'keeper Troy Perkins, the chance created when MF Ned Grabavoy was taken down in the box by DF Kurt Morsink a minute prior.
Findley was unlucky not to double the advantage a minute before the half, as FW Fabían Espindola played a perfectly weighted ball between two D.C. defenders, but Findley couldn't adjust his feet to snap a shot off, leaving the scoreline at 1-0 RSL heading into the break.
Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando was called upon right at the onset of the second half, extending fully to his left to knock FW Danny Allsopp's shot from the top of the area around his left post for the save of the night. The fast-paced middle portion of the match would give way to a drier final 20 minutes, partially due to Real Salt Lake removing all but one of its first XI by the 62nd minute.
Moreno would even things up with his first in the 77th minute, when Rimando did well to bolt off his line and stop a pair of shots from close range at the top of his area. But he couldn't stop a third, as the second rebound fell right to Moreno, who chipped Rimando from 22 yards out to even up the proceedings.
The ageless Bolivian forward would strike again three minutes later, as a corner kick was nodded down by DF Julius James right to the feet of Moreno at the top of the six-yard box, where he easily swept past a helpless Rimando to give D.C. the lead and the game's final tally. Real Salt Lake's best chance for an equalizer came in the 88th minute when MF Andy Williams sprang MF Nelson González into the left side of the area with a crafty pass, but the young Argentine could only send his heavy, near-angled shot square into the chest of Perkins at his right post.