Wilmington Hammerheads FC jumped out to a two-goal lead against Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night, but the top level side from Utah leveled the matched and later advanced in a shootout.
In PKs, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a key save in the fourth round of penalties and Chris Wingert converted the clinching goal as the home team advanced 3-1.
Real Salt Lake created some chances and outshot the Hammerheads 6-4 in the first half, but Wilmington scored a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 34th minute.
Justin Moose played Austin Martz up the right side of the box and the midfielder dropped a ball back for Mael Corboz for a first-time shot from 17 yards out that went inside the post to put the visiting Hammerheads in front.
The score stayed that way into the 58th minute when Jeff Michaud dropped it back to Justin Moose for a powerful shot from 30 yards out that deflected off the back of Michaud, leaving Attinella leaning the wrong direction as the ball floated into the net as Wilmington took a 2-0 advantage.
Joao Plata cut that lead in half in the 65th minute with a lightning bolt from 25 yards and Juan Manuel Martinez found the equalizer late in regulation with an equally impressive curler from 26 yards out on the left side that danced off the grass and over the glove of Wilmington goalkeeper John Smits.
Neither team could find a winner before 90 minutes, so the match went to two, 15-minute extra time periods, eventually leading to penalty kicks.
Wilmington opened the shootout, with Bruno Perone missing high on his attempt. Martinez and Plata both converted for Real Salt Lake, while Matthew Barnes-Homer missed high to give Real Salt Lake the 2-1 lead in the five-round series. However, Smits came up huge for the Hammerheads and stopped an attempt from Javier Morales, leaving the door open for a Wilmington comeback. But Attinella stoned Liam Miller in the fourth round and Wingert slotted home the winner to give Real Salt Lake a 3-1 win in the tiebreaker.
Tuesday’s match marked the second all-time match between Real Salt Lake and Wilmington. They previously met in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2011, with RSL winning 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Luke Mulholland played for the Hammerheads in 2011, earning USL-Pro Best XI honors and the USL-Pro Rookie of the Year award. He assisted Plata on Real Salt Lake’s first goal of the night.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC has been tested over the past few days, with matches against an MLS side and top USL club Louisville City FC. The Hammerheads wrap a busy week as they return to league action at Legion Stadium against Bethlehem City Steel FC on Friday, June 17. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Goals by Period 1 2 1OT 2OT F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 0 0 2
Wilmington Hammerheads 1 1 0 0 2
WIL: Mael Cordoz (Austin Martz, Justin Moose) 34’
WIL: Jeff Michaud (Justin Moose) 58’
RSL: Joao Plata (Luke Mulholland, Chris Wingert) 65’
RSL: Juan Manuel Martinez (Joao Plata) 86’