Seattle Sounders rally, top Real Salt Lake in U.S. Open Cup shootout

The Seattle Sounders topped Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks in their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matchup at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, riding a monster effort from reserve goalkeeper Tyler Miller into the USOC quarterfinals.

The contest ended tied 1-1 through regulation and extra time, with Nelson Valdez notching a goal early in the second half for Seattle and Joao Plata converting a first-half penalty kick for RSL.

The Sounders will now face either the LA Galaxy or the Portland Timbers on the road in the quarterfinals on July 20. Those teams will meet on Wednesday in Portland.

RSL had the better of the chances through much of the first half, but Miller proved to be up to the challenge. Yura Movsisyan had a good look for the home side in the 18th minute after he was put in on goal by a pinpoint through ball from Burrito Martinez, but Miller managed to block Movsisyan’s shot.

Miller also saved a distance shot on target from RSL’s Luke Mulholland in the 24th minute and managed to alter another look from Tony Beltran in the 34th.

The hosts would be rewarded for their persistence in the 41st minute, however, after Sounders center back Tony Alfaro was whistled for a foul on Movsisyan in his own penalty box, awarding RSL the penalty kick. Plata slotted his attempt from the spot by Miller, giving RSL the 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

Movsisyan nearly made it 2-0 just after second-half kickoff after he freed himself up in the Seattle box and uncorked a close-range rocket shot on goal. But Miller came through again, making a great reaction save to keep Seattle within the single goal.

Valdez would find Seattle’s equalizer in the 52nd after a long pass popped free in front of the RSL goal following a collision between goalkeeper Jeff Atinella and defender Justen Glad. Valdez calmly finished into the open net, knotting the contest at 1-1 with his first goal across all competitions this year.

Miller made another huge save just prior to the final whistle, diving to bat away a rocket shot from Martinez to send the game into extra time. Neither side managed to find the scoresheet through the extra half hour, sending the game to a penalty kick shootout to decide the winner.

Miller came through once again during the shootout, saving attempts from Plata and Kyle Beckermann. The Sounders, meanwhile, converted penalties from Herculez Gomez, Jordan Morris, Zach Scott and Erik Friberg to take the shootout 4-1.

With a MLS regular season matchup at Toronto looming on Saturday, the Sounders played without regular starters Brad EvansAndreas Ivanschitz, Stefan Frei, Osvaldo Alonso, and Tyrone Mears.

The Sounders have not played the LA Galaxy during the MLS regular season this year, but last played them in the USOC in the quarterfinals of the 2011 tournament, winning 3-1.

They haven’t played the Timbers this season either, but the two Cascadia rivals have met numerous times in the USOC since the Sounders joined MLS in 2009, including Sounders wins in 2009, 2010 and 2014, and a win for the Timbers last year.

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